Polish sculptor dies at 86

Warsaw: Celebrated Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz (pictured), whose striking headless figures have been showcased around the world, has died at the age of 86, the culture ministry said on Friday.
“She died overnight Thursday to Friday,” the ministry’s press office said, without elaborating.
Abakanowicz, a descendant of Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan on her father’s side and Polish aristocracy through her mother, was born in 1930 in the central village of Falenty.
She lived through Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland, the bombing of Warsaw and Stalinism, all of which influenced her art.
A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, her first works were large gouache paintings on paper and canvas, followed by inventive woven sculptures that she dubbed “Abakans”. In the 1970s she turned her focus to the human body, the subject of many series over the years — “Backs,” “Heads,” “Crowds,” “Seated figures,” “Dancing figures” and “Skulls”.
Using materials such as wood, stone and bronze, Abakanowicz created haunting crowds of dozens — and even hundreds — of headless, genderless clones arranged in a predetermined sequence. Her work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Art Sonje Museum in Seoul and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The sculptures have also appeared in more unusual places, including on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, on the edge of a hill in Jerusalem and in a huge water tank in Warsaw. — AFP

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