UNRECOGNISED 2001/2002, 112 figures iron cast each ca 210 x 70 x 95 cm. City of Poznan, Cytadela Park
Magdalena Abakanowicz for many years has dealt with the issue of "the countless". She says: "I feel overwhelmed by quantity where counting no longer makes sense. By unrepeatability within such quantity. A crowd of people or birds, insect or leaves, is a mysterious assemblage of variants of a certain prototype, a riddle of nature abhorrent to exact repetition or inability to produce it, just as a human hand can not repeat its own gesture". Each of her figures is an individuality, with its own expression, with specific details of skin. Organic, with the imprint of the artist's fingers. Their surface is natural like tree bark or animal fur or wrinkled skin. Like all her sculptures also these works are unique objects.
Her art has always addressed the problems of dignity and courage. This dignity resistance and will of survival conceal her individual personal affinities to the culture of Poland, the country where she has grown up, to this country’s political situation, and to the realities of existence of an artist, an intellectual. The metaphoric language of her work has achieved a point of junction, which still is a challenge for mankind, for all its sophisticated civilisation. This is the point where the organic meets the non - organic, where the still alive meets that which is already dead, where all that exist in oppression meet all that strive for liberation in every meaning of this word.
On this map the human figure belongs to a vast territory inhabited by crowds and flocks of headless figures. The idea of a crowd has many reverberations in her mind. One of them is the transformation of an individual into a cog. Abakanowicz says: "I immerse in the crowd, like a grain of sand in the friable sands. I am fading among the anonymity of glances, movements, smells, in the common absorption of air, in the common pulsation of juices under the skin...” The entire population of her figures is enough to fill a large public square. They are today over thousand but they have never been seen together. They remain in various museums, public and private collections in different parts of the world. They constitute a warning, a lasting anxiety.
Shy by nature and lonely in the creative process, she has made her contact with people through over one hundred personal exhibitions, which she arranged herself as "still ceremony" hidden behind which she felt secure.
She built out of bronze or stone large "spaces to contemplate", where the tension of space invited the viewer to go between the forms of petrified energy. Each of her forms figurative or non - figurative is rich in its own history. Abakanowicz changed the meaning of sculpture from object to look at into space to experience. - sources by Artur Starewicz
Banished from Paradise, man found himself confronted by the space of the world. It was a territory unknown and inconceivable as inconceivable as are overabundance or emptiness. He tried to reach unknown powers, raising stones, building areas of special meaning… With the development of society, sculpture began to visualize gods, to glorify leaders, to commemorate history, finally to decorate life. Today, we are confronted with the inconceivable world we ourselves created. Its reality is reflected in art.