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Alberto Giacometti, Spoon Woman, 1927. Coll. Fondation Giacometti Paris © Estate of Alberto Giacometti / Bildupphovsrätt 2020
Giacometti - Face to Face

10 October 2020 – 17 January 2021
Curators: Jo Widoff, Moderna Museet and Christian Alandete, Fondation Giacometti
Alberto Giacometti forged a singular path within European modernism, restlessly seeking a new language for sculpture as a “double of reality”. Today, his elongated, pared-down figures have become iconic. Moderna Museet’s latest exhibition Giacometti - Face to Face is the first large-scale presentation of Giacometti’s work in Sweden in over twenty years and Moderna Museet’s Director Gitte Ørskou predicts the exhibition to be a future classic. 

From relatively early on Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966) was counted among the major interpreters of the post-war era and today his fragile and pared-down figures are associated with the image of a broken humanity. The notion of Giacometti as an artist who lived an isolated life, uninterested in his times, has been cultivated over the years, following the pattern of the artist genius. Giacometti’s daily life, however, was naturally different and his work was influenced by the ideas that were circulating in Paris, a city that before the war had been a hub for artists and intellectuals from all over the world. There were three friendships in particular – with the writers Georges Bataille, Jean Genet and Samuel Beckett – that came to have a great impact on Alberto Giacometti. In Moderna Museet’s latest exhibition Giacometti – Face to Face the curators Jo Widoff from Moderna Museet, and Christian Alandete from Fondation Giacometti, Paris, set out to trace their shared motives and how their dialogues, and the discourses that formed them, left their mark on Giacometti’s work.

“For this exhibition it was important to show Giacometti as a part of his times”, says Jo Widoff. “We have chosen to do this by emphasising the artist’s relationship with three writers – all of them life-long friends of the artist and part of a lively conversation, at times concrete and at times palpable only as traces in the many twists and turns that Giacometti took in his career. Intersecting with Beckett’s irrational, closed off worlds, Bataille’s violent opposition to staid conventions or Genet’s reverential depictions of life in the margins of society, Giacometti’s art gains new meaning.”

Alberto Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, a village in Switzerland, on 10 October 1901, and moved to Paris at the age of twenty-one to study sculpture under Antoine Bourdelle at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Although Giacometti was never completely convinced by any particular artistic grouping, he exhibited his early, latently violent and erotic objects with the Surrealists. He went his own way and instead of looking to abstract art, which dominated Paris at the time, he cast his gaze further back in time – to Prehistoric art, Egyptian tomb paintings and Sumerian stone reliefs. As an artist, Giacometti was preoccupied with his own inadequacy in the face of reality. When working with a model he tried time and again to find a “likeness” between art and reality, restlessly seeking a new language for sculpture. By feeling his way forward with hands and thumbs in clay and plaster, he came to change our view of sculpture.

Giacometti – Face to Face encompasses over 110 sculptures, paintings and drawings and is the first large-scale retrospective of Giacometti’s work in Sweden in twenty years. The exhibition is organised in close collaboration with Fondation Giacometti in Paris, which has enabled the loan of more than a hundred objects, including several key works. Among them are early Surrealist sculptures, paintings, and the tall, now iconic figures in plaster and bronze from later on in his career. Many of Giacometti’s artworks have never been shown in Sweden and several works have rarely been exhibited publicly.

“We hope our visitors will be inspired by this exhibition, which shows that an individual is never truly alone—not even an artist like Giacometti. Giacometti - Face to Face will be an impressive art experience and I am convinced that the exhibition will be a future Moderna Museet classic”, says Gitte Ørskou, Director of Moderna Museet.

Please note that due to the covid-19 situation, visitors will only be granted access to the exhibition with pre-purchased tickets for specific time slots. Please consult our website for further ticket information.

A PRESS PREVIEW of the exhibition will be held ON OCTOBER 8, AT 10 AM

Please note that this press preview is only for journalists with a given assignment to cover the exhibition. Registration is mandatory. Journalists who wish to see the exhibition without a given assignment should contact us at for access at another prearranged time.
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For more information contact:
Kristin Lundell, press officer
0046-709-52 23 62
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