Cage by Magdalena Abakanowicz

This artist, resident in Poland, revolutionised textile art in the 1960s with her monumental three-dimensional draperies called Abakans. Since the early 1970s she has produced sculptures out of burlap and gauze. One of her best-known series is Backs, arranged independently or in a group. Earlier, she seated her figures directly on the ground; later, she placed them on a stretcher-like low wooden stand. This Cage was produced in 1986; a version created five years earlier is in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Her torsos, produced from plaster casts and made of burlap reinforced with synthetic resin, give a precise diagnosis of the general physical and spiritual condition of humankind.

Title: Cage
Creator: Magdalena Abakanowicz
Physical Dimensions: 180 x 140 x 185 cm
Type: sculpture
Publisher: Museum of Fine Arts Budapest
External Link:
Medium: synthetic resin on burlap, wood
Inventory Number: 88.3.U
From the collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Magdalena Abakanowicz
June 20, 1930 – April 20, 2017

Magdalena Abakanowicz is a Polish sculptor and fiber artist She is notable for her use of textiles as a sculptural medium She was a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, Poland from 1965 to 1990 and a visiting professor at University of California, Los Angeles in 1984 Abakanowicz currently lives and works in Warsaw

Under Soviet control, the Polish government officially adopted Socialist realism as the only acceptable art form which should be pursued by artists Originally conceived by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s, Socialist realism, in nature, had to be ‘national in form’ and ‘socialist in content’ Other art forms being practiced at the time in the West, such as Modernism.

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Abakanowicz completed part of her high school education in Tczew from 1945 to 1947, after which she went to Gdynia for two additional years of art school at the Liceum Sztuk Plastycznych in that city After her graduation from the Liceum in 1949, Abakanowicz attended the Academy of Fine Arts, then located in Sopot (now in Gdańsk) In 1950, Abakanowicz moved back to Warsaw to begin her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, the leading art school in Poland

A major freedom granted to Polish artists was the permission to travel to several Western cities, such as Paris, Venice, Munich, and New York City, to experience artistic developments outside the Eastern bloc This liberalization of the arts in Poland and injection of other art forms into the Polish art world greatly influenced Abakanowicz’s early works, as she began to consider much of her early work as being “ too flamboyant and lacking in structure” Constructivism began to influence her work in the late 1950s as she adopted more a more geometric and structured approach Never fully accepting Constructivism, she searched for her own “artistic language and for a way to make her art more tactile, intuitive, and personal” As a result, she soon adopted weaving as another avenue of artistic exploration

Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

The Museum of Fine Arts Budapest, which houses one of the most important collections of European art from Antiquity to the present day, celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of its opening in 2006. The museum has been the centre of ever increasing attention in recent years.