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Mutations by Magdalena Abakanowicz Coming to Richard Gray Gallery

  • magdalena abakanowicz
April 23, 2016
A philosophy graduate interested in theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

Magdalena Abakanowizc, a Polish artist who uses textiles as her principal sculptural medium, is one of the most influential sculptors of the Post-War period. Her solo exhibition entitled Mutations will soon be presented at Richard Gray Gallery. Bringing together sculptures she has created in the past thirty-five years, the exhibition will emphasize the symbolic impact of these works and the materials she has used. The exhibition will feature sculptures in bronze and burlap from Abakanowicz’s series Crowds and Mutant.

Magdalena Abakanowicz
Left: Magdalena Abakanowicz – Figure Sitting on a Pole, 1999 / Right: Abakanowicz, Backwards Standing, 1993-4

Crowds and The Mutant

During her 50-plus year career, Magdalena Abakanowicz has created a distinct body of work with sculptures exploring the human condition, the relationship between man and nature, and social and political histories regarding her experience in Soviet Poland. Often portraying crowd of headless or faceless bodies, her sculptures and installations refer to personal, societal and international violence. Her series Crowds depicting a group of headless human figures has been made in several versions, varying in materials, the number of figures and their positions. Created in several stages of her long career, these figures have been exhibited worldwide as probably the most important part of her creative production. Her series Mutants presents a study of animal bodies and is produced in several versions and using various materials as Standing Mutants and Seating Mutants.

Magdalena Abakanowicz
Left: Magdalena Abakanowicz – Iron Cast – Walking, 2003 / Right: Magdalena Abakanowicz – Abakany Cytadela Poznan. Fo illustrative purposes only.

The Practice of Magdalena Abakanowitz

During her prolific career, Abakanowizc has created a compelling and highly emotional body of work. Her monumental series of soft textile sculptures entitled Abakans that earned her an international recognition is considered as one of her earliest mature works. Her human figures, often headless and created in burlap or bronze, contemplate the human ability to follow different authorities without questions. Since each form is crafted by hand, each figure represents an individual in the crowd. Her sculptural language refers to her experiences in the Communist-ruled Eastern Europe, but is still open to the universal understanding of human struggle.

Magdalena Abakanowicz
Magdalena Abakanowicz – The Group of Five with Arms, 2014

Magdalena Abakanowitz Exhibition at Richard Grey Gallery

Located both in Chicago and New York, Richard Grey Gallery is one of the leading dealers in modern and contemporary American and European art. The exhibition Mutations will be on show at Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago from April 29th till July 1st, 2016. An opening reception will be organized on Friday, April 20th from 6pm to 8pm.

Featured image: Figures by Magdalena Abakanowicz, via milenaolesinska.blogspot.com. All images of the artist and Richard Grey Gallery. Photo credit: Michael Tropea