Every Tangle of Thread and Rope
Installation shot: Christian Tunge / Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
In the 1960s and 70s, Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017) created groundbreaking, towering sculptures from woven fibre.
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Dette er et kunstverk som ikke er ferdig sett med ett blikk
The sculptures were soft, organic, large and expressive works in fibre that hung from the ceiling. They became known as Abakans. The public had never seen this before, and the Abakans made Abakanowicz one of the leading artists of her time. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to experience this extraordinary work.
Through several essential Abakans and other works from 1956-1981, the exhibition explores this critical period in Magdalena Abakanowicz's practice when her woven forms detached themselves from the wall and into three-dimensional spaces. Some of the Abakans on display are over five meters high, and the audience will move through a fibrous sculptural landscape. Abakanowicz herself was keen to be referred to as a sculptor, and she became a leading star for the many textile artists who, at this time, fought for textiles to be considered on an equal footing with painting and sculpture.
Abakanowicz greatly influenced Norwegian textile artists in the 1960s and 1970s, among other things, through Henie Onstad's extensive exhibition Magdalena Abakanowicz. Organic Structures in 1977.
Bilder fra åpningen av Abakanowicz
Abakanowicz developed a personal artistic language closely linked to the artist's relationship with nature and her childhood memories in Poland, where she grew up isolated on her aristocratic family's estate deep in the forest. Abakanowicz was nine years old when the Germans invaded Poland during World War II. In the same year, the Soviet Union moved in from the east to take part of the country. The family was stripped of everything they owned, and the aristocratic family background had to be hidden when Abakanowicz studied under the Soviet-backed communist regime in Warsaw in the 1950s. Despite living under the restrictions of the communist regime, Abakanowicz was determined to engage on a global scale. Even before 1970, she gained international recognition for her revolutionary installations, and she continued to cross the Iron Curtain more than any other artist, participating in hundreds of exhibitions worldwide.
Magdalena Abakanowicz became a significant artist in her lifetime, and museum collections in the USA, Europe and Asia have purchased her works.
In close collaboration with Tate Modern in London and the Toms Pauli Foundation at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lausanne, Henie Onstad is now presenting a large-scale presentation of the works of Magdalena Abakanowicz. For the first time, the development in her practice is explored from her painted textiles from the mid-1950s to ambitious and radical Abakans.
The exhibition Magdalena Abakanowicz: Tangles of Thread and Rope is curated by Caroline Ugelstad, Director of Collection and Exhibition and Chief Curator at Henie Onstad Art Center, Ann Coxon, Curator, International Art, Tate Modern, and Mary Jane Jacob, Independent Curator.
The exhibition is organized by Tate Modern, London, in collaboration with Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and Fondation Toms Pauli at the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne/Plateforme 10. It is supported by the Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Charitable Foundation and Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.
An extensive catalogue of new scholarly essays from a range of authors, including the curators, accompanies the exhibition.