Born 1930 Falenty, Poland
Died 2017 Warsaw

Crowd I

1986–1987

Jute and various other woven fibers.  Abaknowicz unwound rope and sacks and dyed the fibers before reweaving it.

In the post-war period, Polish art fell under the influence of a communist state that preached Socialist Realism as the only valid art form. As Abakanowicz saw it, “the country whose model was imposed on us deprived us of identity.”  Her interest in crowds stems from this curious collective power to force an individual into a group identity.  A crowd, herd, gaggle, flock, or army becomes an apparently single entity, functioning on a single mind; and yet upon scrutiny, each member remains unique, unable to be totally absorbed by the group identity.  In Crowd, the artist’s use of burlap lends a uniqueness of texture to each sculpture that is akin to a fingerprint.

Abakan Red-Orange

1967–1970

Jute and various other woven fibers. Abaknowicz unwound rope and sacks and dyed the fibers before reweaving it.

The textural sculptures of Magdalena Abakanowicz reflect not only her attraction to the natural and organic, but also her memories of the desolation and brutality of a childhood in war-torn Poland. The daughter of a baronial landowner, Abakanowicz was forced to flee her rural home after the Second World War when the Soviets confiscated it. As a young artist in Warsaw, she lacked the money to buy materials traditionally used in sculpture and turned instead to the detritus of communist industry, much of which she initially found on the docks of her adopted city. Her visceral works highlight their crude media – whether burlap, bronze, or found wood – while at the same time expressing an internal spirit so powerful that they become oddly noble signs of a displaced humanity.

Face I

1986

Face IV

1986

Face VIII (Magdina)

1986

Cast Bronzes

Edition:  Unique copies

Zadra

1987–1988

Found oak log salvaged from a lumber yard, steel, burlap, jute twine.

Sitting Figure on a Short Bench

2000

Cast Bronze

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