How a Revolution in “Ugly” Design Is Upending Conventions of Beauty
Presented anonymously 2009
For more than half a century, Magdalena Abakanowicz has been producing critically acclaimed, poetic sculptures about the fraught and fragile condition of being human, shaped by her experiences growing up during WWII and the Soviet domination of Poland. “What is sculpture?” she asks. “With impressive continuity it testifies to man's evolving sense of reality, and fulfills the necessity to express what cannot be verbalized.” Through sculpture, Abakanowicz expresses what she sees as the ineffable, dichotomous relationship between the individual and society. The human figure, overt or implied, is central to her work, from her early fiber-based sculptures of ropes and organic forms to her later, expressionistic human and animal figures and trees. Often displayed in groups, with surfaces resembling bark or wrinkled skin, Abakanowicz’s figures seem vulnerable and weathered, as if bearing the marks of life.
Polish, 1930-2017, Falentyn, Poland, based in Warsaw, Poland