Polish city honours artist Magdalena Abakanowicz

A major retrospective of works by the late Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz has gone on show at the National Museum in Poznań, western Poland.

A 2019 exhibition of work by Magdalena Abakanowicz at the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko, south of Warsaw.

A 2019 exhibition of work by Magdalena Abakanowicz at the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko, south of Warsaw.Photos: Danuta Isler/Radio Poland

The exhibition, which opened on Sunday, is being held in the run-up to an October 8 ceremony of naming the city’s Arts University after Abakanowicz.

Abakanowicz served as head of the Tapestry Faculty at what was then the State School of Fine Arts for 25 years, and she also held an honorary doctorate from the university.

The title of the exhibition, We Are Fibrous Structures, is a quote from Abakanowicz’s 1978 lecture at a symposium at the University of California Berkeley in the United States.

“The artist saw the endless potential of fibre, until then treated in a purely utilitarian fashion,” the exhibition’s curators wrote on the museum’s website.

“For her, fibre was the basic component of the organic world, the building block of all living organisms, plants, tissues, leaves, and the human body.”

The exhibition runs until October 24.

Abakanowicz gained reputation in the mid-1960s for her textiles and towering textile structures that came to be known as the Abakans.

In the 1970s, she took up sculpture, first using jute and metal, and later creating spatial installations across the world, her best-known works including Standing FiguresThe PlowmanWar Games and Katharsis.Magdalena AbakanowiczMagdalena Abakanowicz. Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Momot

Abakanowicz was one of Poland’s most renowned visual artists. She had more than 100 individual exhibitions and won the Gold Medal at the São Paulo Art Biennale in 1965.

Today her work is in the collections of some 120 museums and private galleries, including the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

She died in 2017 at the age of 86.


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