Sculptures on a podium in a museum hall.

Installation view ”Giacometti – Face to Face”, Moderna Museet, 2020. Photo: Åsa Lundén / Moderna Museet © Estate of Alberto Giacometti / Bildupphovsrätt 2021


Face to Face

10.10 2020 – 30.5 2021


Alberto Giacometti forged a singular path within European Modernism, restlessly seeking a new language for sculpture as a “double of reality”. The exhibition ”Giacometti – Face to Face” trails the evolution of Giacometti’s work from post-cubism through surrealism to post-war realism.

Guided video tour

Join Nina Blom, art educator, on a tour of the exhibition. We will study works from when Alberto Giacometti was 13 and made his first portrait of his brother Diego, to his late paintings and sculptures, and, of course, the iconic tall bronze figures.

Video introduction

Follow curator Jo Widoff on a walk through the exhibition ”Giacometti – Face to Face”. We will also meet curator Christian Alandete at Fondation Giacometti in Paris where he presents Giacometti’s library and reconstructed studio.

The Dialogue with Georges Bataille, Jean Genet and Samuel Beckett

At the age of twenty-one Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966) arrived in Paris to study sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He participated in the intellectual life of the city, which before the Second World War was a hub for artists and intellectuals from all over the world. The close dialogue with the three writers Georges Bataille, Jean Genet and Samuel Beckett had a particularly strong impact on Giacometti. This exhibition sets out to trace the marks that Giacometti’s encounter with Beckett’s irrational, closed-off worlds, Bataille’s violent opposition to staid conventions and Genet’s reverential depictions of life in the margins of society, left on the artist’s work.

Installation view ”Giacometti – Face to Face”, Moderna Museet, 2020. Photo: Åsa Lundén / Moderna Museet © Estate of Alberto Giacometti / Bildupphovsrätt 2020

Surrealism and Prehistoric Art

Throughout his artistic career, Giacometti was preoccupied with his own inadequacy when it came to depicting reality. In the 1930s he exhibited his work with the Surrealists but soon went his own way. Instead of looking to abstract art, which dominated Paris at the time, Giacometti cast his gaze further back in time – to prehistoric art and non-Western art objects.

The Tall Figures of the Postwar Period

From relatively early on, Giacometti was counted among the major interpreters of the post-war era and today his fragile and strangely elongated figures are associated with the image of a resilient humanity. When working with a model he tried time and again to find a “likeness” between art and what he saw before him, restlessly seeking a new language for sculpture as a “double of reality”. By feeling his way forward with his hands in clay and plaster, he came to change our view of sculpture.

”Giacometti – Face to Face” is the first large-scale retrospective of Alberto Giacometti’s work in Sweden in over twenty years. The exhibition was produced in close collaboration with Fondation Giacometti, Paris.

Curated by Jo Widoff, Moderna Museet, and Christian Alandete, Fondation Giacometti


Pre-booked tickets is required for all visitors – including children and other groups who have free admission. More information about ticket purchases

Admission: 170 kr
Reduced admission: 140 kr (for seniors and students)

Free admission for those 18 and under and Friends of Moderna Museet.

Exhibition catalogue

The lavishly illustrated book provides an overview extending from Giacometti’s early to his later works, newly commissioned essays by the British art historian and professor emerita Dawn Ades, the Swedish professor of literature Jesper Olsson and the French author Agnès Vannouvong, as well as important historical texts by Bataille, Genet, Beckett and the artist himself.

Katalog Giacometti – Ansikte mot ansikte
Catalogue Giacometti – Face to Face, 2020. Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet

Events & tours

All activities and events at the museum are cancelled.

Book an online lecture

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to offer guided tours of the exhibition. Instead, you can book a presentation in the form of an online lecture with one of our art educators who will talk about Giacometti and his art, with photos of his works in a Powerpoint presentation.

Previous programme

Face to Face

Artists and poets react to Giacometti

On five Tuesdays, Johanna Gustafsson Fürst, Sara-Vide Ericson, Mara Lee Gerdén, Gabriel Itkes-Sznap and Lea Porsager will each share their personal reflections in the exhibition and its ideas.

Read more: Face to Face

Global Paris

Two mini-seminars in connection with Giacometti – Face to Face

23 October: Global Paris – Pre-war period
With: Cecilia Sjöholm, Michael Barrett and Rado Istok.
Moderator: Kristoffer Noheden.

30 October: Global Paris – Postwar-period
WIth: Karl Dunér, Samuel Girma and Kristoffer Noheden.
Moderator: Maria Mårsell.

Read more: Global Paris

Alberto Giacometti under arbetet med en byst av Annette Giacometti
Alberto Giacometti working on a bust of Annette Giacometti, 1962. Photo: Franco Cianetti

Searching for reality

An art adventure is a family tour for kids and adults to do on your own in the exhibition. Ask the staff at the information desk on floor 4 how to get started. From age 4 (accompanied by an adult).

Alberto Giacometti was an artist from Switzerland who lived and worked in a tiny studio in Paris. For a few years, he made sculptures that didn’t look like anything from the real world. But most of the time, he tried to make works of art that captured reality the way it looked to him.  Come with the tracker dog Alberto and see if you can find reality in the exhibition!

Illustration: Karin Eklund
© Illustration: Karin Eklund

Audio guide

With focus on the literary undercurrents featured in the exhibition.

Download the Audio Guide

The Audio Guide app is free of charge. You download the Audio Guide to your phone and you use your own headphones. The Audio Guide is available in Swedish and English, for iPhone and Android.

Read more about Moderna Museet’s Audioguide

School visit

Unfortunately we can not allow school classes in the exhibition due to the pandemic.

Read more about school visits: School

Create in Giacometti’s studio

All activities and events at the museum are cancelled.

The exhibition is on the 4th floor


Installation view ”Giacometti – Face to Face”, Moderna Museet, 2020. Photo: Åsa Lundén / Moderna Museet © Estate of Alberto Giacometti / Bildupphovsrätt 2020
Sculpture by Alberto Giacometti.
Alberto Giacometti, Femme cuillère, 1927. Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris © Estate of Alberto Giacometti / Bildupphovsrätt 2020

More about this exhibition