Pinocchio is the main character of a children’s story written by Italian writer Carlo Collodi in 1883. Due to the wooden puppet whose nose grows longer after a lie, a long nose has become the symbol of lies. Alberto Giacometti had created sculptures with a long nose since the mid-1940s. Was it his attempt to create liars? The sculptures had a much longer nose than Pinocchio in the story.
Giacometti who was born in Switzerland moved to Paris to become a sculptor at the age of 20. He studied classical sculpture and cubism style before focusing on surrealism pieces in the 1930s. World War II brought big changes to his work and thought. He returned to human sculptures based on reality, rather than imagination. Following the war, Giacometti showcased lonely-looking human sculptures with thin bodies and earned a reputation as an existentialist sculptor. The head sculptures with a long nose were also created during this time.
The rugged bronze head is hung by a rope in a square frame made of steel. It has blurred eyes, no nose, and a wide-open mouth. Its long nose is sticking out of the frame as if it has kept lying without seeing or hearing. The nose looks like a rifle with a long muzzle. The widely open mouth seems to be screaming out of pain and the head hung by a rope resembles a scaffold. The figure seems to have a destiny of having to continuously lie in order to escape the frame to which it is confined.
What was the world like for Giacometti who experienced a war filled with hate, conflicts, and destruction? It must have looked like it was full of lies, hypocrisy, and anxiety. To him, Mister Geppetto who has shown unlimited love and forgiveness to lying Pinocchio might have only existed in a children’s story. The reality might have been another type of war where people lie to each other. Lies produce more lies without fail. The sculptor might have wanted to deliver a message that lies, which can serve as a weapon to kill others, will eventually destroy the liars.