Wartime contexts of Magdalena Abakanowicz's work. An exquisite display at Warsaw Royal Castle

TVN24 News in English, tvnwarszawa.pl

An exhibition of Magdalena Abakanowicz's sculptures has been opened at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. "For the first time we have managed to gather to such a scale exhibits which together make up a story and a captivating mystery for the public," says exhibition curator Dr Mariusz Klarecki.

Works of art of Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz have been put on display on Wednesday in the historic interiors of the Royal Library, the only fully authentic room of the Royal Castle in Warsaw that survived the 1939 fire. "Standing figures" - eight forms cast in bronze put on display in the Great Courtyard - constitute both an announcement of and an invitation to the very exhibition at the Royal Library.

"A juxtaposition of fierce art and order"

According to the Royal Castle in Warsaw director Wojciech Fałkowski, "raw forms of contemporary art displayed in a historic, 18th-century building constitute an unusual juxtaposition". "Such setting is a deliberate confrontational effect. It's a juxtaposition of fierce art and order established 200 years earlier. It allows taking a different look at the presented works and extracting new meanings out of them," Fałkowski added.

He added that Abakanowicz's art evokes emotions and encourages contemplation. The works of art put on display have been selected based on the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the associated sense of threat, also clearly felt in Poland. "We come here with a burden of experiences and observations on what is happening outside our eastern border. This is an art whose message relates to Magdalena Abakanowicz's war experiences," said Royal Castle director.

In his opinion, Abakanowicz's art is universal. "This art does not relate to a single event. Obviously, it's a whole spulptural cycle which was created based on the author's memories, and today's situation also brings about similar associations. Abakanowicz's work perfectly demonstrates what happens within our souls, regardless of the present situation," he stressed.

Exhibits are a "captivating mystery"

The exhibits, made of jute canvas, wood, resin, and iron, have been displayed with the use of light. "The whole exhibition is divided into three segments. Here we present sculptures, installations, and groups of sculptures from the collections of the Marta Magdalena Abakanowicz Kosmowska and Jan Kosmowski Foundation, the National Museum in Wrocław and the Krupa Gallery in Wrocław," said exhibition curator Katarzyna Rogalska.

Exhibition curator Dr Mariusz Klarecki explains that the exposition arrangement tells a certain story. "In the foreground we have a leader encouraging a group of people to follow. With the help of war machines, this group is confronted with another group of people which is much smaller and takes the first blow. Later we have terrified and defenceless victims of war," he said.

In his view, such selection of figures relates to the times of war, of which Abakanowicz spoke on many occassions. "She survived the Second World War as a 9-year-old girl and witnessed a soldier smashing her mother's hand. Later she would help others as a nurse and tended to wounded soldiers. We do not, however, tell this story to the very end, as we want leave visitors a possibility to interpret Abakanowicz's work in their own way," he underscored.

"For the first time we have managed to gather to such a scale exhibits which together make up a story and a captivating mystery for the public," Klarecki said.

The exhibition is open to visitors until February 19, 2023, and is accompanied by a publication illustrated with exceptional photographs, containing essays by experts in the field of Abakanowicz’s body of work, published by the Arx Regia Publishing House of the Royal Castle.

Magdalena Abakanowicz is the most recognisable Polish name in the world of contemporary art – she was a complete artist, an individualist and innovator, who constantly confronted herself with new areas in the process of her artistic exploration. Her works have become part of the strict canon of the world’s 20th-century art.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, tvnwarszawa.pl

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