Magdalena Abakanowicz

Born 20 June 1930. Died 20 April 2017.
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Magdalena Abakanowicz Biography

Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz is known as a pioneer of sculpture and installation of biomorphic forms composed of sewn sackcloth and synthetic resins.

She was born into a noble family and lived her youth in the family’s estate situated east of Warsaw. Here she spent her formative years up to 1943 when the tragic assault to her house from drunken German soldiers changed her life. They shoot to her mother, who hopefully survived.

This dramatic event was to leave a lasting impact on the young Magdalena. She began to work on abstract fiber installations in the 1950s, when her government was advocating social realism.

Her earliest works were monumental hanging textiles, which she named “Abakans.” She turned to figurative textile works in the 1970s, creating the headless and fragmented human forms for which she is best known.

She began receiving public commissions, which led her beyond textiles to materials such as bronze, wood, stone, and clay.

Her sculpture, as mutilated human forms both familiar and surreal, possess an ambiguity that encourages multiple interpretations, speaking broadly to human experience.

She lived and worked in Warsaw, Poland, until her death on April 20, 2017 at the age of 86.

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