Magdalena Abakanowicz exhibited at the Centre for Contemporary Art in autumn 1995 a large retrospective. Since that time she is in close contact with Centre participating in different events and showing her works on different occasions. (wersja polska)
Abakanowicz is today the best known Polish artist in the world. Her large monumental works are installed in open spaces, among others: in Italy - G. Gori collection - "Katharsis" - 33 bronze figures; in Jerusalem, Israel Museum - "Negev" - 7 huge stone discs; in Seoul Olympic Park - "Space of Dragon" - 10 matamorphic animal heads; at National Gallery of Art, Washington - "Puellae" - 20 children figures; in Nasher collection, Texas - "Bronze Crowd" - 36 standing figures; in Europas Parkas, Lithuania, a group of large oval forms out of concrete - "The Spece of Unknown Growth".
Abakanowicz began her creative activity in the 60s with wovem soft sculptures called "Abakans" which gained her an international reputation and the Great Prize of the Sao Paulo Biennial. Soon after interested in human condition she changes scale and creates figurative ann nonfigurative objects. She is known by her shall like groups of headless figures made out of burlap and resin, later on out of bronze. They represent human bodies shall like, sitting, standing, and walking, natural size or slightly bigger, adults and children. One can see them collection of the Ludwig Museum, Koln, Germany; Sun Jeu Museum, South Korea; Musee d'Art Modern de la Ville de Paris; Sezon Museum, Tokyo; Reina Sofia Muzeum, Madrid; Nelson Atkins Museum, Missouri, USA; Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, and in other public and private collections.
The human face is another subject of Abakanowicz studies resulting in more than 150 metaphoric auto portraits in bronze followed by faces and heads of imaginary animals; then the cycle of animals called "Mutants" follows. At the same time she creates the "War Games" - using huge tree trunks in horizontal position armed with steel parts. "Hand-like Trees" bronze forms up to 500 cm high installed permanently in different sculpture parks in the US and Europe are another Abakanowicz statement. She makes charcoal drawings and ink paintings.
At the beginning of the 90s she designs Arboreal Architecture - a concept of eceological city with buildings organic in shape covered with vegetation transforming them into vertical gardens.
She also designs and choreographs dances deriving from her sculptures. They were performed in Tokyo, in Hiroshima and afterwards in CCA in Warsaw by Japanese and Polish dancers.
Each sculpture of Abakanowicz is a unique piece, as a rule never repeated. She installed over 120 personal exhibitions all over the world and took part in numerous biennials and other international exhibitions.
She has been distinguished by honoris causa doctorates of Royal College of Art in London (1974), the Rhode Island School of Design, USA (1992) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz, Poland (1998).
She has been elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1996), a member of the Akademie der Kuenste in Berlin (1994) and a correspondent member of the Sachsiche Akademie der Kuenste in Dresden (1998).
She has got numerous prizes and awards, among them: Grand Prix of the Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil, 1965; the Gottfried v. Herder Prize, Vienna, 1979; the Alfred Jurzykowski Prize, New York, 1982; "Leonardo da Vinci" World Award of Arts, 1997.
Distinctions: Comandor Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta, 1998; Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Paris, 1985; Award of Distinction in Sculpture, granted by the Sculpture Center, New York, 1993.
Selected books from bibliography:
The curator of the exhibition: Piotr Rypson.