Culture

Magdalena Abakanowicz her Abakans

Magdalena Abakanowicz Abakan Orange 1971, Tate. All works by Magdalena Abakanowicz are © Fundacja Marty Magdaleny Abakanowicz Kosmowskiej i Jana Kosmowskiego, Warsaw
by Alain Chivilò

© Alain Chivilò


The Abakans are a fundamental research for the Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz (Falenty 20/6/1930 – Warsaw 20/4/2017) who defined them as “a kind of bridge between me and the outside world”. In the decade between the 1960s and 1970s, these sculptures opened to new interpretations of the space for the art world.
For the first time in the UK, at the Tate Modern in London, twenty-six works of this cycle allow an immersive visit among perspectives, shapes and earthy smells.
Moving away from commonplaces and canonical concepts of tapestry, but at the same time of traditional sculpture, the Abakans are real installations, more than five meters high, made with organic materials such as hemp rope, horsehair and sisal.
Magdalena Abakanowicz exhibition is curated by Ann Coxon, Curator, International Art, Tate Modern, Mary Jane Jacob, Independent Curator and Dina Akhmadeeva, Assistant Curator, International Art, Tate Modern. The exhibition is organised by Tate Modern in collaboration with the Fondation Toms Pauli at the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne/Plateforme 10 and Henie Onstad Art Centre, Høvikodden.
Magdalena Abakanowicz’s artistic creations in fiber, texture move away from the banal concept of handmade, because today as sixty years ago, they create fluctuating tensions within the host space divided between nature and the arcane world. As she explained: “it is from fibre that all living organisms are built, the tissue of plants, leaves and ourselves. Our nerves, our genetic code, the canals of our veins, our muscles. We are fibrous structures”.

Magdalena Abakanowicz
Tate Modern, Level 2, Blavatnik Building Bankside, London
17 November 2022 – 21 May 2023

by Alain Chivilò