Her sculptures and textile art were large, lavish, almost monumental. But the foundations of the later style of the artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, who was born in Falenty near Warsaw, dictated need and shortage, which she creatively overcame with a great deal of improvisational ability. Because both his childhood on a farm during the Second World War and his first artistic attempts in communist Poland were characterized by a lack of "good" materials.
Abakanowicz, who initially concentrated on painting in her art studies and only later turned to sculpture, made a virtue out of necessity. In her sculptures and textile sculptures, clay, shards, stones and fabrics were combined, mixed and shaped together to form a new unit - true to the artist's maxim that artists must "enter their environment, penetrate it, become part of it".
The experience of two totalitarian regimes, of loss and hardship in life, but also the will to overcome them also shaped the expressive works of Abakanowicz, who could trace her family history back to Genghis Khan. After studying in Danzig (Gdansk) and Warsaw, the artist first gained international attention with her large woven wall textiles in the 1960s. "It's about what you can't express in any other way. This includes the terror, belief, feelings and everything that's inside us and that we carry with us through life," said Abakanowicz about her artistic motivation.
Her works have been related to the body since the 1980s. Mythical and eerie figures of people or animals emerged, almost always appearing in groups. She once said she feels overwhelmed by quantities that make counting no longer meaningful. But at the same time she wanted to show that even in the masses, each individual keeps his own rhythm despite all the adaptations.
Abakanowicz received, among others, the Sculpture Prize of the Sculpture Center New York (1993), the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1998), appointment as Officer of the Order of Arts and Sciences in Paris (1999) and appointment as Knight of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy (2000). She was a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin (1994), the Saxon Academy of Arts in Dresden (1998) and the Order Pour le Mérite for science and art in Berlin (2000).
On June 20, she would have been 93 years old. Google honors the artist with a doodle.