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Steel Bird on Pole II, 2009 Stainless Steel 144 1/8 X 106 1/4 X 57 1/8 Inches © Courtesy of the artist & Marlborough Chelsea

545 West 25th Street
10001 New York
March 25th, 2010 - April 24th, 2010

Tue-Sat 10-6


The Directors of Marlborough Gallery are pleased to
announce that an exhibition of work by renowned Polish
sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz will open at Marlborough
Chelsea on March 25, 2010. This show, her first in New York
since 2005, will include work in aluminum, bronze, burlap and
plaster, and follows recent solo exhibitions at the Palacio de
Cristal, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
and Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia, both in
2008, and the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milan, in 2009.
Several works will be on display in the ‘Energy and Process’
wing at the Tate Modern for the duration of 2010.
Abakanowicz is recognized as one of the most potent and
unique voices in contemporary art with a distinct sculptural
vocabulary that expresses a philosophical quest.
Abakanowicz’s exhibition will include fifteen works from
the new cycle Anatomy in which she has arranged single and
multiple sculptures of human limbs formed in burlap – arms,
hands, legs and feet – onto wood beams supported by steel
armatures. Anatomy 22, 2009 (32 ¾ x 14 ¾ x 10 ¼ in.) depicts
three delicate hands with fingers curved in and placed on a
wood block. Anatomy 18, 2009 (48 x 27 ½ x 11 ½ in.) includes
four legs with knees slightly bent through the top of the thigh
that stand firmly on a wood beam. These sculptures are at once
beautiful and unsettling, reminders of the fragile nature of the
human condition.
Also included will be three life-size figures in cast aluminum
and eight large figures in plaster and wood, ranging in height
from five to almost nine feet. An example of the former is
Armament, 2009 (64 ¼ x 32 ½ x 29 ½ in.), wherein a headless
figure, body impressed with beams or slats, is seated on a
chair, legs dangling above the floor. In addition to this group, a
series of four bronze sculptures, entitled Anonim 1(19 x 8 x 11
¼ in.) through Anomin 4 (19 ½ x 9 x 10 ½ in.), depict human
heads on long necks and recall her cycle Anonymous Portraits,
1989-90, made of cotton, resin, sand and wood. The show will
also include three tall sculptures of birds in flight, soaring high
on steel poles, that capture a magnificent feeling of lightness
and energy, yet they are mutant, with distinct welded seems.
As the artist has written, “Birds are for me just shapes from
which I select a bit of their features…My imagination doesn’t
reproduce, but produces forms which are not needed in the
world of nature, as they don’t fulfill functions of creatures
alive, growing and dying.” (Working Process e Non Solo, Collezione
Gori, 2002).
The art of Abakanowicz stands out as a major achievement
because of its timeless gestalt, its power to invoke deep feeling,
and its unique use of figural form as the embodiment of
a visionary philosophy. Robert Hughes in Time magazine referred
to its “dark vision of primal myth.” Both Barbara Rose
(Magdalena Abakanowicz, Harry N. Abrams, 1994) and Michael
Brenson have written at length on the interpretation of her
work. Brenson has said she has one of the most original minds
he has encountered in an artist and Rose has written that “She
is a shaman who receives and transmits messages in a visual
language that is more universal than words.”
Abakanowicz has had over 150 solo exhibitions in Europe,
North and South America, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.
She has had major shows at The Metropolitan Museum of
Art in New York, the Jardins du Palais Royal in Paris and the
Muzeum Narodowe in Poznan. Among numerous prizes and
distinctions Abakanowicz has received seven honorary doctorates
from universities in Europe and the United States as well
as the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from
France. She was also awarded the prestigious International
Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
In the past twenty years Abakanowicz has developed a number
of site-specific sculpture installations that incorporate
multiple figures or elements of increased scaled that suit her
particular objectives in those environments. Among these are
Negev at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1987; Space of Dragon,
Olympic Park, Seoul, South Korea, 1985; Becalmed Beings,
Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan, 1993;
Space of Unknown Growth, Europos Parkas, Lithuania, 1997-98;
Unrecognized, Citadel Park, Poznan, Poland, 2002; Space of Stone,
Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey, 2003 and, most
recently, Agora, a sculptural group comprised of 106 unique
cast-iron figures measuring over nine-feet tall that was permanently
installed in Chicago’s Grant Park in 2006.
Abakanowicz’s work can be found in numerable public collections
including the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Ludwig Museum,
Cologne; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges
Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago;
The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum
of Art in New York; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; National
Gallery of Art, Washington and the Sezon Museum, Tokyo,
among others.
An illustrated catalogue will be available at the time of the