Magdalena Abakanowicz (Polish, b.1930) is a sculptor whose career and distinct body of work have made her one of the most influential sculptors of the Post War period. Her powerful portrayal of the figure explores the human condition, the relationship between man and nature, and social and political histories pertaining to her experience in Soviet-occupied Poland. This selection of sculpture, shown in the open air focused on single and large groups of figures, which refer to the solidarity and vulnerability of crowds within 20th century society, while excerting their own powerful presense.
The selection of bronze, steel and aluminium sculptures compromised works which had been cast especially for YSP and others which had never been shown in Britain or Europe. The exhibition included Twenty Standing Figures (1994) and Thirty Puellae (1992-3); First Unknown Figure (1983) – the first sculpture case by Abakanowicz; six Hand-Like Trees (1994-95) and works from the series Birds (1992-5) and Self Portraits (1995).
Abakanowicz studied at the College of Fine Arts, Sopot, and graduated in 1955 from the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw. At the beginning of her career she was interested in drawing, painting and sculpture. In 1960 she concentrated on textile arts, breaking with tradition, she initiated bold experiments with fibre and fabric. Her work contributed to the revolutionary textile movement known as Fibre art and finally entered the domain of modern sculpture. In the 1980s Abakanowicz began casting in metal and has also used stone, tree trunks, ceramic and steel plate. Over the last 10 years she has continued to develop themes of figures and crowds, heads, portraits, mammals and trees, which display a strength and boldness, respect for nature and love of mankind.
Exhibition organised by YSP in partnership with Oriel Mostyn.