#photography & visual arts
The exhibition 'Into the Space of Magdalena Abakanowicz: Textile and Sculpture' will present the artist's multifaceted work. It will include 15 of her works: abakans, sculptures and sculptural series loaned from various Polish collections.
Magdalena Abakanowicz was one of the best known Polish artists in the world (1930-2017). She practiced textile art and sculpture, which in her approach significantly transcended the frames of the discipline. From 1950 to 1954, she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Initially, she worked with painting before quickly moving to other realms of art – textile art and sculpture.
Abakanowicz started her international career at the Biennale in São Paulo in 1965 where she obtained the gold medal. She achieved fame with her so-called 'abakans' and spatial figurative compositions which were mainly made of textiles, as well as of wood, stone or bronze. She introduced weaving techniques into galleries of modern art. She hung her monumental, abstract forms in the gallery space, in this way transcending the boundaries between painting and sculpture, between an object and its surroundings.
They will be similarly presented at the monumental space of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga, whose sacred interior of the former Romanesque church will make a perfect context for Abakanowicz’s works. The artist wrote:
[Abakans] annoyed people. They were ahead of their time. In weaving French tapestry, in art: op art and conceptual art, and here the magical, complex and enormous [forms]…
The most famous Abakans – Blue, Yellow, Tube, Black Clothes, and several others will be accompanied by sculptures she made from jute canvas hardened with resin: Heads (1973-1975), Standing Figures (1986-1987), Striding, Anonymous Portraits, as well as Ploughman and Androgyn. The exhibition will demonstrate the great significance the artist attached to the human figure – sporadically treated literally, it more frequently appeared as a trace, imprint, shell or fragment of tissue. Another characteristic of her work is sculptural series – single figures or crowds. The exhibition will be complemented by portraits of the artist made by Jarosław Pijarowski and Krzysztof Gierałtowski.
The exhibition will also include two films: the first – produced by Polish Television is devoted to Magdalena Abakanowicz, the other, titled The Orońsko Context, has been specially prepared for this exhibition by Róża Fabjanowska and Sławomir Malcharek. The event will be complemented by a catalogue with the texts by Inese Baranovska, Anda Rottenberg, Marga Paz, Eulalia Domanowska and Irēna Bužinska.
The project also involves a conference which will be held on 9th April from 12:00 to 17:00 at the Riga Bourse Museum. The speakers – Director of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga, Inese Baranovska, the Director of the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko, Eulalia Domanowska, as well as Marta Kowalewska-Piwowarczyk, Milada Ślizinska and Anda Rottenberg – will discuss the artist’s diverse international work and outline the history of her oeuvre, as well as analyse various examples, stages and reception of her work in Latvia.
Abakanowicz represented Poland in the Venice Biennale of Art in 1990. Among others, she is the author of large sculptural projects in Grant Park in Chicago, Olympic Park in Seoul in South Korea, the Municipal Museum in Hiroshima in Japan, the Storm King Art Centre near New York, the Sculpture Garden Israel in Jerusalem, Europos Parkas near Vilnius in Lithuania, and at the Citadel in Poznań. She took part in the famous, historic exhibition analysing the principles and legacy of feminist art WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles (2007), and several dozen other exhibitions at museums and galleries in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. She twice won the prize for sculpture awarded by the Sculpture Centre in New York.
The exhibition is presented with the support of The Honorary Patronage of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
- Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko
- Latvian National Museum of Art / Museum of Decorative Arts and Design
- Adam Mickiewicz Institute
- Polish Embassy in Riga
- The Marta Magdalena Abakanowicz-Kosmowska and Jan Kosmowski Foundation in Warsaw
- National Museum in Warsaw
- Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź
- National Museum in Poznań
- Starmach Gallery
- Studio Gallery
The project is co-organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme accompanying the centenary of Poland regaining independence. Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2022.
Latvian National Museum of Art / Museum of Decorative Arts and Design
Latvian National Museum of Art
source: press materials, compiled by SC, April 2019