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Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017) 

Presence, Essence, Identity

September 30 – December 30, 2018

Curated by Maria Rus Bojan 

Produced by by Magdalena Mielnicka and All That Art Foundation, Wroclaw in collaboration with Magdalena Abakanowicz Studio, Warsaw.


Park Wielokulturowy Stara Kopalnia 

The Old Mine Center for Science and Art

Piotra Wysockiego 29, 58-304 

Wałbrzych, Poland


Presence, Essence, Identity features a broad selection of works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, one the world’s most acclaimed Polish artist, who gained her international notoriety in the 1960’s for her experimental, and highly uncommon at the time, fiber sculptures.  Generically entitled Abakans, these fluid woven structures made of organic materials, challenged traditional sculpture by transforming the flat surface of a tapestry into a spatial and dynamic form that triggers complex visual and tactile experiences. 

Throughout her entire life, Magdalena Abakanowicz devoted her entire creative energy to the restless exploration of the dialectical relationship the human being shares with the larger natural world, translating her awareness about the essence of things into unique sculptural representations. Resisting all categories, Abakanowicz’s representations are intelligent forms of physical thinking that challenge conventional ideas of art and raise questions that are essential and universal to human experience. 

This exhibition proposes a consistent overview of the artist’s creation, highlighting key works from all stages of her career, revolving around crucial themes, such as freedom and loss, resurrection and destruction, identity and difference. Featuring more than 100 sculptures, the exhibition aims to provide an understanding of the recurrent issues in Abakanowicz’s works: presence, essence, identity, and to illustrate the ways in which the Polish artist revolutionized the history of sculpture through a lifelong commitment to constant reinvention. The unique post-industrial location of the old mine offers an ideal setting to experience the full impact of the work of Abakanowicz.

This presentation at Stara Kopalnia (The Old Mine Center for Science and Art) is a sequel to the exhibition Effigies of Life, A Tribute to Magdalena Abakanowicz (Wroclaw, 2017) curated by Mariusz Hermansdorfer and Maria Rus Bojan. This exhibition offers a new selection of works, celebrating the lifelong collaboration and friendship between Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017) and the visionary curator and art historian Marius Hermansdorfer (1940-2018).

The works come from the artist’s estate, Irmina Nazar and Artur Trawinski collection, MARe Collection and NOWA 20_21 Collection. 

The exhibition was made possible with the generous support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage through the Cultural Promotion Fund

Main Sponsor: European Art East Foundation, London

Sponsors: The City of Wałbrzych, All That Art Foundation, SleepWalker Boutique Hotel

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