Lifelong Learning Programme

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Artists - ArtWorks

Name of the Artist / Artwork:

Magdalena Abakanowicz

Country: Poland
Century: 1900 - The 20th Century
Art Period:

Polish Painting

Artist / Artwork Description:

Magdalena Abakanowicz / With Feathers


The 20th century was the period In which creating artistic Works lost its definition. There is no longer one idea, which dictates to everybody how it should look like- Picture, sculpture or architecture. Everything goes as it likes. It is difficult to indicate the fundamental representatives of that century. However, it is possible to recognize some features, trends which demonstrate some resemblance to each other and some repetition. It could be named by Abstraction. However, also Abstraction does not have one name. Most famous people who came into recognition were beyond All doubts Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque or Juan Gris.

National Comparative:

There are many avangarde artists. One of their representatives is Katarzyna Kobro, who was the founder of the current avangarda group „Blok”. In her works, she always included a part of herself. During the Second World War she was forced to escape many times and permanent hiding. She could not continue her artistic destiny. After the War, she gave All Her Works to a museum In Lodz, where Her masterpieces were welcomed with enthusiasm.
She resembles Magdalena Abakanowicz to much extent as regards her artistic ideas.

Transnational Comparative Analysis:

Magdalena Abakanowicz presented her works (Personally designing Her every exposition) In Ludwig Museum In Cologne, In Hiroshima City Museum, in Museum Sonje In Kyongju (Korea), in Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, in Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris, in Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in National Gallery of Art in Washington, in Marlborough Gallery in New York. The artist also participated in the most important worldwide art. Expositions, besides the mentioned above- in Lausanne, Venice, Sao Paulo, Antwerp, Sydney. The artist’s masterpieces are in many museums (also mentioned above) and galleries all over the world. In Poland, the biggest collection of her works is in the National Museum in Warsaw. The enumeration of her expositions, collections, bibliographies is entailed In the book by the exposition of Her masterpieces In the Centre of the Current Art in Warsaw.

Development of the artist's work through the years:

In the 60s she created the cycle of abakans (coming form Her name) which consisted of big works made by means of weaving technics. The forms of sculptures coming from such non- conventional material caused a big revolution in the insight into the artistic fabric. She ended with the temporary plain fabrics functioning as inside’s decorations. They started to have a practical function of adjusting a monument al sculpture to modest living conditions: such works were easier to gather. In 1962 during the International Biennale in Lausanne Her Works hanging from the ceiling made a great expression by the colour’s vividness, facture, softness, and and original taste. In 196,5 Abakanowicz was awarded with the golden medal Turing the Biennale in Sao Paulo, the event which started off her worldly career.
Her frequent elements of Works are multiplied human postures standing in a certain order. An example of such a trend is e.g.- the work „Unrecognizable” („Nierozpoznalni”), which was made to memorize 750 years’ anniversary of Poznan’s Location. In the course of making that work- the artist for foirst time co- operated with the Cast Iron Factory in Srem, in which there remain 2 artist’s Works.


Magdalena Abakanowicz was chosen because of her enormous cultural contribution and a revolutionary form of the artistic transition.


1. Author: a collected work, Title: Encyklopedia PWN (“Encyclopaedia of PWN”)

Related Material:

Image available

File name: 49_Magdalena Abakonowicz- personality and vision.bmp

Description of the material:

The material concentrates on the artist's vision of art, her artistic horizons, the specyfic calling of her talent and the innovatory territory of the performance. We find the clear distinguishing of outdoor installations, seated figures, dancing figures, crowds,abakans& ropes, etc.

Contextualisation Of the source:

In that context, Abakanowicz is presented as a special figure among her memorable artistic enterprises.

Interpretation of the source:

The source is to demonstrate the artist's independence, her special attitudes,artistic explorations, her coexistence with the language of art and the exceptional stuff used within her original objects.

File name: 49_untitled.bmp

Description of the material:

The material gives a possibility of the proper recognizing of the artist's convention, consequently presented throughout her gallery.

Contextualisation Of the source:

The context which appears which appears is the manifestation of her artistic visions and the newly established distance between the artist and his object- in a sense of the performance, object's introduction and the stuff's own existence in the material world.

Interpretation of the source:

The source is to be interpretated as the domain of the innovatory art, and the artist's creative penetration inside the novel artistic technologies.

Comments about this Artist/ArtWork

Date: 2009.06.28

Posted by canesi gianluca teacher liceo artistico di brera milano

Message: questions:in the second part of the twentieth century there was a Polish Pope. How did that influence Polish religious art?
Which are the main peculiarities of Polish art during the Second World War?
What influence had Italian art on Polish art?

Date: 2009.05.22

Posted by Teodora Zeia, "National School of Arts"- Varna, Bulgaria

Message: It was very glad to be introduced to Magdalena Abakanowicz’s artwork. It would be extremely interesting for me to find out more about her work, about her ideas of dignity and courage. Her vision of crowds is absolutely fascinating and I was very impressed by the way she makes her figures look so organic. I find an impression about them that is extremely powerful, it is as if they really emit disturbance. I believe that her sculptures can make anyone feel the way the artist “immerses in the crowd”. The sensation of shared movements, scents, of breathing together is absolutely overwhelming. It is my personal conviction that female artists are often being overlooked when it comes to achievements in art, so choosing Magdalena Abakanowicz as a representative of contemporary Polish art was really a pleasant surprise.

Date: 2009.05.22

Posted by Simone Lechner-Erbach Landau, Germany

Message: First I would like to congratulate for having chosen Magdalena Abanakowicz. She is an actual artist and the feministic aspects of her work are important part of contemporary art.
I would like to get further informations about her work, which is only presentated in a very short form. The Homepage of the artist shows the variability of her opus, and it would be interesting to get to know about the themes she is working on as (I suppose) individual- crowd, human being- animal, birth- death ...

Date: 2009.04.19

Posted by Sylwia Plaza

Message: Regardless of any tradition, it is very difficult to classify the work of artist only in a expressive movement. However her research shows contact points with the traditional anti-form and touch the issues of femininity and of eroticism. The artist works in complete freedom rules. In every her phase of creativity the exhibition are designed to be areas of experience and places where mature briefly a number of fears, delights, amazements, protections, loneliness and other such basic sentiment, as happens in the succession of the facts of human existence.
The artist analyzes the point in which the organic meets the non-organic, something which is still alive meets this which is already dead, where everything that exists in oppression meets all that the struggle for the liberation.

Michelangelo - Copyright 2008 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

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