Magdalena Abakanowicz. Crowd and Individual

Magdalena Abakanowicz. Crowd and Individual. Exhibition parallel to the Venice Biennale

This exhibition is realized by Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art, Sigifredo di Canossa and Fondazione Giorgio Cini.

Magdalena Abakanowicz, born 1930 in Falenty (Poland), is considered one of the most prominent artists of the 20th and 21st century.

The exhibition at the Fondazione Cini focusses on her series of »Crowds« – a central theme in Magdalena Abakanowicz’s oeuvre. Forged in various materials – she prefers textiles as her principal sculptural medium - the »Crowds« have been periodically created by the artist at different stages in her career and are the most important part of her creative work.

The »Crowd« of 110 figures, here in the Sala Carnelutti of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, faces as a counterpart an animal-like being, also referred to as »Mutant«. The figures have an extremely haptic, lively surface, resembling tree bark, but are in fact empty shells.
»I think that the impact of Magdalena Abakanowicz’s work«, says curator Luca Massimo Barbero, »arises from the way she conveys through a powerful sense of a crowd or group a human condition with an existential meaning in which often faceless people are bewildered bystanders, who find or lose themselves again.«

Abakanowicz uses burlap and resin to sculpt and create fragile works, demonstrating what human life is about – a conflict between instinct and human intellect and at the same time the cruelty perpetrated by humans over centuries. In a group, individuals tend to lose their own sense of responsibility and with it their dignity and courage. »This dignity, resistance and will of survivalconceal her individual, pe...

Magdalena Abakanowicz, born 1930 in Falenty (Poland), is considered one of the most prominent artists of the 20th and 21st century.

The exhibition at the Fondazione Cini focusses on her series of »Crowds« – a central theme in Magdalena Abakanowicz’s oeuvre. Forged in various materials – she prefers textiles as her principal sculptural medium - the »Crowds« have been periodically created by the artist at different stages in her career and are the most important part of her creative work.

The »Crowd« of 110 figures, here in the Sala Carnelutti of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, faces as a counterpart an animal-like being, also referred to as »Mutant«. The figures have an extremely haptic, lively surface, resembling tree bark, but are in fact empty shells.
»I think that the impact of Magdalena Abakanowicz’s work«, says curator Luca Massimo Barbero, »arises from the way she conveys through a powerful sense of a crowd or group a human condition with an existential meaning in which often faceless people are bewildered bystanders, who find or lose themselves again.«

Abakanowicz uses burlap and resin to sculpt and create fragile works, demonstrating what human life is about – a conflict between instinct and human intellect and at the same time the cruelty perpetrated by humans over centuries. In a group, individuals tend to lose their own sense of responsibility and with it their dignity and courage. »This dignity, resistance and will of survival conceal her individual, personal affinities to the culture, to the realities of existence of an artist, an intellectual« describes the art historian Ryszard Stanisławski.

The artist herself once stated about her work that there is nothing to explain: »You can see and feel all yourself. It is very clear.« On the other hand, she describes her feelings as follows: »I immerse in the crowd like a grain of sand in the friable sands. I am fading among the anonymity of glances, movements, smells, in the common absorption of air, in the common pulsation of juices under the skin. I become a cell of this boundless organism of the crowd, like others already integrated and deprived of expression. Destroying each other, we regenerate. Through hate and love, we stimulate each other.«

Magdalena Abakanowicz graduates from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 1954. First, she paints monumental gouaches and later on builds spatial forms made of soft materials. First groups of forms appear which a viewer can enter, penetrating their interior. She wins the Grand Prix at the Biennial in São Paolo in 1965. Various exhibitions follow in Western Europe, South and North America, Australia and Japan. She gives lectures at many universities.

In 1991, the first crowd of humanoid figures made of sackcloth and resin, and then of bronze and cast iron are forged. Groups of over 100 figures are created – the artist uses them to build a metaphorical barrier, spreading worldwide. With »The Unrecognised«, a permanent installation of 112 figures made of cast iron in the Cytadela Park in Poznań she confronts human beings with themselves.

In 2006, invited by the local authorities of Chicago, she realises the biggest figurative composition »Agora«, 106 figures, each three meters tall and made of cast iron: a permanent installation in the city centre, in Chicago Grant Park.

Except for sculpture, she paints and draws bodies, faces, flowers and insects.
She writes metaphorical texts referring to her observations of nature and life. She obtains seven doctorates honoris causa of academies and universities in Poland, England and the USA. Abakanowicz lives in Warsaw.

»Crowd and Individual« marks the artist’s return to Venice thirty-five years after she represented Poland at the 39th Biennale di Venezia in 1980 with the installation »Embryology«.

Publications

Magdalena Abakanowicz. Crowd and Individual

Magdalena Abakanowicz. Crowd and Individual

  • Artist: Magdalena Abakanowicz
    Editor: Ute Eggeling, Michael Beck
    Text: Luca Massimo Barbero, Künstlerzitate ausgewählt und gekürzt von Andrea Knop
    Design: Beck & Eggeling (Martina Löhle)
  • English
    Softcover, 24 x 28 cm
    236 pages, 209 illustrations
  • Beck & Eggeling Kunstverlag, 2015
  • 35,00 €
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