Magdalena Abakanowicz

King Arthur’s Court

13 march, 2008 - 12 june, 2008 /
Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro, Madrid
Exhibition view. Magdalena Abakanowicz. King Arthur’s Court, 2008
Exhibition view. Magdalena Abakanowicz. King Arthur’s Court, 2008

Magdalena Abakanowicz (Falenty, Poland, 1930) is one of the Polish artists with the biggest international presence. The universe that Abakanowicz has created is inhabited by groups of human figures, fragments of humans or plants that occupy a geography between reality and dreams, mythical memories, literary characters that are evocations of her childhood world. Her work is also marked by the experience of a country ravaged by war and living in a totalitarian regime under the Soviet orbit. A compendium of images that the artist channels through a work full of mystery and power.

In the mid-sixties Abakanowicz obtains recognition at the VII Bienal in São Paulo with her "Abakans" three-dimensional, abstract, biomorphic tapestries which she exhibited together as an enigmatic totem forest. Abakanowicz has experienced many different forms and structures. From textile materials, she went on to explore the possibilities of bronze, wood and stainless steel. In the mid-eighties she performs a series of monumental projects in open spaces. The variety of multiplied figures and the serialisation of sculptures, whether human or animal, characterise her work, she uses that language to explore the human condition, the tension between the individual and social, identity and anonymity, desire and reality. Abakanowicz’s installations are populated by multitudes of bodies, bronze or wooden figures, men, animals and dragons’ heads, trees that are confused with human hands and torsos. Her visual language is characterised by monumentality, a fascination with nature and a spatial conception of her sculptures that causes a potent stage effect when they are grouped together as a single creation.

In this exhibition that the artist has created for the Palacio de Cristal, Abakanowicz brings together pieces that are representative of her long career together with new works under an umbrella that protects and isolates from the outside world, while creating a warm and unreal atmosphere. These figures become a fictional narration of nature and metal artefacts. Myth and fantasy are recurring issues in Abakanowicz's work and in this case the legend of King Arthur is used to discuss the principles, ethics and dignity that governing gentlemen, compared to the lost values missing in today's world.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía