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Łódź: Metamorphism in Central Museum of Textiles

November 30, 2017 - April 1, 2018

M.Abakanowicz, Desdemona, arras, 1965

M.Abakanowicz, Desdemona, arras, 1965



Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź, building D

On 30 November, 2017, the Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź will be opening an exhibition commemorating the accomplishments of Magdalena Abakanowicz, one of the most important XX-century artists. The goal of the exhibition is to highlight those matters in her artistic output, which most evidently show the revolutionary changes introduced by the artist to the language of art.

The whole world is familiar with her soft, spacial forms known as the ’Abakans’, sculptures made up of pliant matter or bronze, which blend with the landscape. Hardly anyone, however, remembers that the road to these avant-garde pieces began with the artist’s fascination with textile. She gained her worldwide fame and recognition, while operating within the scope of tapestry and textile. Thus, it seems only fitting that the exposition reminding us of the intellectual and creative sources of Abakanowicz’s success, which had such great impact on Poland’s artistic image, be held in the Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź.

The Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź, in which the artist’s achievements had been tracked since her debut, owns thirteen of her works. Many of these represent the initial period of Abakanowicz’s artistic activity. Among the exposed pieces, one will find a piece of artistic textile painted in the year 1960, flat tapestries, including the famous Lausanne one from 1962 and one belonging to the Sao Paulo cycle, for which the artist was awarded a golden medal on the VIII Biennial. The Museum will also present structural textiles, the form of which progressively moved towards reliefs with cracks and perforations. These pieces depict the changes and the gradual layering of structures, the formal line of development. The visitors will also have a chance to admire the famous ’Abakans’, which emerged from a series of artistic experiments and bold decisions and became the crowning achievement of the artist’s struggle with matter.

The exhibition will not only comprise the works owned by the Central Museum Of Textiles in Łódź, but also those rented from other institutions. The presentation of the works loaned to the Museum thanks to the kindness of the Swiss Toms&Pauli Foundation, will most assuredly be the ultimate revelation of the exposition. Toms&Pauli Foundation is the holder of the documents and works connected to the history of the Lausanne Biennial – the event crucial to the development of contemporary artistic textile in the world. The works owned by the Foundation, which had not previously been shown in Poland, will be presented during the second edition of the exhibition (April 2018). This form of exposition will allow the visitors to fully comprehend the artist’s creative way, as the first stage will show the directions of the development of her artistic thought and the path which led to her reaching the revolutionary formal solutions.

The screening of Kazimierz Mucha’s movie, accompanied by music composed by Bogusław Schäffer and recorded in the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, will be an integral part of the exhibition. The movie is a footage of Magdalena Abakanowicz’s 1968 open air art installation in Łeba, during which the organic, material ’Abakans’ surrender to the gusts of wind, move and integrate into the surrounding landscape of the wild dunes, accentuating their biological provenance. „This movie is an extremely important part of the exhibition, as it helps to better understand the artist’s works by piecing together the plastic motion picture with the marvelous music and the movement of the sensual ’Abakans’ in  a natural scenery. It was very important for me to show the deepest of her inspirations and the following stages of her works, which led to the revolutionary solutions used by the artists and most strongly expressed in the form of the ’Abakans’” – says Marta Kowalewska, the curator of the exhibition.

All of these aspects of the rich forms of expression, which Magdalena Abakanowicz used in her art, will be highlighted during the exposition – not only will it be a commemoration of her achievements, but most of all a closer look on the intellectual sources of her art and the bold path of her formal experiments.

Curator: Marta Kowalewska
Coordinator: Agata Połeć
Exhibition design: Maja Pawlikowska
Graphic design: Monika Zawadzki