Artist Biography: Abakanowicz Essay, Research Paper
Magdelana Abakanowicz was born in 1930 near Falenty, Poland. Between 1950 and 1954 she studied at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, and sought to escape from the conventional art forms through weaving. This artist has gone through many significant artistic changes. From 1954 – 1960 she painted a series of large gouaches on paper and canvas. She described that feelings, “My medium will be a part of my self and painting is just a forerunner of my future”. During the 1960’s Abakanowicz began creating monumental three dimensional forms called Abakans, made out of materials woven by herself in her own technique. During the 70’s she created huge cycles of figurative and non-figurative sculptures made out of burlap and resins, called Alterations. It was during the 80’s that Abakanowicz created sculptures in bronze, wood, steel, ceramic, and burlap. She creates series of monumental sculptures using bronze, stone, wood
andiron. Installs permanent outdoor “spaces to experience” in Italy, Israel, S. Korea, Germany and America.
Her main subjects are human and animal figures presented in large groups of 50, 80, or 150 exemplars. Abakanowicz also works in drawing, painting, choreographing dances, and architectural projects. Her work can be seen in museums all over the world. Often in her work she explores the alerted reality created by the groups of sculpture in a gallery while also drawing heavily upon her personal and family history. Abakanowicz’s work demonstrates an evolution from themes to dwellings, to humans, to the primality of organic growth itself. Abakanowicz’s strong idealism and forceful speaking style suggest a productive tenacity born of a defensive self-belief. She feels “overawed by the quantity where counting no longer makes sense. By unrepeatedly within such a quantity. By creatures of nature gathered in herds, droves, species, in which each individual, while subservient to the mass, retains some distinguishing features. A crowd of people, birds, insects, or leaves is a mysterious assemblage of variants of certain prototype. A riddle of nature’s abhorrence of exact repetition or inability to produce it. Just as the human hand cannot repeat its own gesture, I invoke this disturbing law, switching my own immobile herds into that rhythm.”
She is truly an artist of history making her mark constantly each year. In 1991, upon the invitation of the Paris authorities concerning the enlargement of the Great Axis of Paris, she designs Arboreal Architecture, her concept of a modern, ecological city, in which buildings organic in shape, are vertical gardens. Creates “Bronze Crowd”, group of 36 figures. Then from 1993-99 she had an explosion of creative pieces each symbolizing her feelings regarding war, family, and hard life issues. During 2000 she created a crowd of 95 figures standing and walking in bronze.
She has been Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Poznan, Poland, 1965/90, and Visiting Professor at the U.C.L.A. (1984) Magdalena Abakanowicz lives and works in Warsaw.