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Magdalena Abakanowicz: Every Tangle of Thread and Rope

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Tate Modern / London / Art

When Magdalena Abakanowicz was nine, Hitler invaded her native Poland. Living just outside Warsaw, her family became part of the Polish resistance; when the war ended they moved to northern Poland. Abakanowicz came of age during a time when Eastern Bloc politicians were insisting that art should support the ideals of communism. She forged her own humanist path, however, and became a sculptor of bronze, stone, metal, and clay. Abakanowicz also learned how to weave, a form of expression that would bring her renown. Her Abakans—made from rope, horsehair, flax, wool—are huge minimalist works that resemble giant dried leaves, the folds of animal orifices, headless humanoids. Abakanowicz died in 2017 at the age of 86. At the Tate Modern, her massive fiber sculptures are assembled in a forest-like display. —J.D.

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Tate Modern Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
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