Magdalena Abakanowicz (born 1930) is a sculptor and one of the most important contemporary artists from Poland. Her most acclaimed works, called “abakans”, are monumental spatial forms made of handmade textiles. The second branch of her highly appreciated oeuvre consists of projects in the public space. Those include the use of multiplied casts of a human figure at plazas and squares all around the world.
Her choice of soft materials and daring approach to space arrangement – first presented at the International Biennial of Tapestry in Lausanne in 1962 – revolutionized the language of sculpture of the 1960s and 70s. Three years later, in 1965, Abakanowicz was honoured with the golden medal at the Sao Paulo Biennial, which made her one of the most influential contemporary artists, within the global perspective.
In 1998, she was awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta, in 2005 – the Medal for Merit to Culture “Gloria Artis”, both greatest honours an artist in Poland may receive.
Abakanowicz’s works are located in the most important art collections worldwide, including the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, the National Museum in Wrocław, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery in Washington.