MAGDALENA ABAKANOWICZ: Abakan Red-Orange

From quite early in her life, Abakanowicz has held a deep regard for the rough stalwartness of the Polish peasant culture and the utilitarian weaving done by Polish women.

“The fiber I use in my works derives from plants and is similar to that from which we ourselves are composed…our heart is surrounded by the coronary plexus, the most vital of threads…handling fiber we handle mystery. When the biology of our body breaks down the skin has to be cut so as to give access to the inside. Later it has to be sewn on like fabric. Fabric is our covering and attire, made with our hands it is a record of our thought.”

There is also an intriguing dichotomy in most of Abakanowicz’s work, one involving the powerful contrast between organic vitality and death. The wood trunks from the cycle War Games, for instance, invoke images of both victim and weapon, as the impoverished tree has been sculpted to resemble the axe that hewed it.