Is it a sculpture or a tapestry? When Magdalena Abakanowicz pioneered the Abakans style of art, her figures made of woven fiber broke the mold. The multi-element artist and Polish sculptor is honored in today’s Doodle. In Poland, Abakanowicz was born on this date in 1930.
She is a member of the generation of artists whose childhoods were cut short by the outbreak of World War II, forcing them into maturity at an young age. Her unique worldview was shaped by her brief childhood, which had many different effects on her art.
In 1954, Abakanowicz earned his diploma from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. At first, he painted three-by-four-meter gouaches on canvas. She made a series of massive soft sculptures in the 1960s. She transformed flat fabric into three-dimensional forms that, when hung, filled a room. These flexible sculptures were called Abakans (after the artist’s last name). They acquired her the top award at the 1965 São Paulo Global Workmanship Biennale and made Abakanowicz a universally acclaimed craftsman.
The human condition became the primary focus of her work beginning in the 1970s. The sociological phenomenon known as “The Crowd” served as a source of inspiration for the artist. In it, people are said to behave in a group and lose their individuality. Abakanowicz began creating more than a thousand figures—or, more accurately, human trunks—using this concept over time. The artist used bronze and sack fabric as his raw materials. The group of 106 iron-cast figures in her collection Agora, which is permanently displayed at Chicago Grant Park, is regarded as her most significant statement regarding humanity.
Abakanowicz’s work has been exhibited in world-class museums and exhibitions. On the same day, museums and art galleries in Europe, the Americas, Japan, and Australia hosted over 100 one-person exhibitions. She received numerous awards for her work, including the Commander Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta in Poland, the Award for Distinction in Sculpture from the Sculpture Center in New York, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center in New Jersey. The Marta Magdalena Abakanowicz Kosmowska and Jan Kosmowski Foundation, based in Warsaw, is currently in charge of her extensive body of work.
Happy birthday Magdalena Abakanowicz, thank you for sharing the fabric of your life with the world.
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