Biography 1930 1931 Magdalena Abakanowicz born in Falenty near Warsaw, Poland. The family moves to the mother's country estate east of Warsaw. Still a child, Abakanowicz begins to create sculptures from clay, stones, twigs and pieces of broken porcelain 1939 A long period of suffering under the circumstances of occupation begins for the family following the German assault on Poland 1944–1945 After the invasion of Poland by the Red Army, the family flees to Warsaw and to the Gdansk region where she, who has thus far only had private tuition, attends a public school for the first time in her life 1947–1950 Abakanowicz attends the art colleges of Gdynia, Gdansk and Warsaw. 1954 Graduation from the Academy 1954–1956 Abakanowicz works as a designer for the silk industry and creates large gouaches on paper and canvas 1956 Marriage to Jan Kosmowski. She quits her silk industry job and starts to concentrate on painting 1957 First trip to the West to Italy 1961 Together with her husband she lives in a one-room apartment in Warsaw. In response to the cramped conditions in which they are forced to live, the artist decides to work with textile materials and creates her first weaving works 1962 At the first Biennale lnternationale de la Tapisserie in Lausanne, Switzerland, she presents a two-dimensional tapestry which causes a sensation. Beginning of a four-month stay in France 1965 Winner of the Gold Medal at the Biennale São Paulo, Brazil From now on, Abakanowicz is met with great acclaim in the international art scene She is awarded a chair at the Art Academy in Poznan, Poland 1967 Creation of large Abakans, sculptures of thick, organic material, which she herself weaves. They are giant abstract forms, which, hanging from ceilings, transcend the borders between painting and sculpture, between the object and its environs 1969 Together with her friend, the Polish film director Jaroslaw Brzozowski, she works on a film about her oeuvre, titled Abakany. First visit to the USA and Mexico Abakanowicz takes part in group exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY, USA 1972 In her exhibition at the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen (The Rhineland and Westphalia Art Association) in Düsseldorf, Germany, she shows her first human figures 1973–1975 Creation of a cycle entitled Heads, made of burlap 1973 1974 1976 1978 1980 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1993 Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art, London, UK Her encounter with Artur Starewicz, the Polish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, marks the beginning of a lifelong friendship Abakanowicz begins to work with new materials. Creation of a clay cast entitled Seated Man Retrospective exhibitions are staged at the New South Wales Art Gallery in Sydney and at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. From Australia the artist sets out on trips to New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan Work on the cycle Embryology begins Abakanowicz represents Poland with a solo exhibition in the Polish pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Italy Creation of the large exterior installations Four Standing Figures and Four Wheels for the Sculpture Biennale Middelheim, Belgium. First aluminium-cast sculpture. With a Super 8 camera, Abakanowicz shoots the short film The Hand Creation of her first bronze figure Creation of an installation entitled Katharsis (Catharsis), 33 larger than life-sized acephalous bronze figures for the The Gori Collection in Santomaso di Pistoia, Italy. Abakanowicz begins to work on the cycles Anonymous Portraits, 30 selfportraits on linen, and Incarnations, 110 bronze self-portraits. In addition, she creates dozens of animal heads, the Hoofed Mammal Heads Creation of a group of 15 burlap sculptures entitled Female Figures, seven of which are displayed at the Sydney Biennale, Australia. She begins to work on Crowd I, a group of 50 standing figures with arms and hands For the Sculpture Garden of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem she creates Negev, seven monumental disks made of limestone, which recall cult objects Work on the cycle War Games begins, enormous tree trunks coated with steel or linen Together with her husband, Abakanowicz moves into a house of their own in Warsaw. Creation of Space of Dragon, ten giant metaphorical animal heads for the Olympic Park in Seoul, South Korea Completion of Sarcophagi in Glass Houses for a retrospective exhibition at Städelsches Kunstinstitut (Städel Art Institute) in Frankfurt/ Main, Germany Creation of the nine bronze forms entitled Space of Nine Figures for the WilhelmLehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, Germany Following an invitation by the city of Paris, the artist designs Arboreal Architecture, organic houses modelled after trees. The project wins the tender put out by the city of Paris for the extension of the Great Paris Axis from the Louvre to the Seine via La Defense In Japan, Abakanowicz installs the Becalmed Beings at the Hiroshima City Museum and One of the Crowd at the Hakone Open Air Museum She is awarded the Prize for Distinction in Sculpture by The Sculpture Center in New York. Work begins on the large vertical tree sculptures Hand-like Trees, reaching into the air-like hands 1994 The artist composes and choreographs dances which reflect her sculptures and are performed in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Warsaw by Japanese and Polish dancers Abakanowicz becomes a member of the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts 1994–1997 Creation of Hurma, a group of 150 child figures, along with Backward Standing, consisting of 60 adult figures, for the collection of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Queen Sofía Museum) in Madrid, Spain 1998–1999 Creation of Birds, made of aluminium. The artist creates 90 Bambini made of concrete and wood. The group Space of Unknown Growth is incorporated into the collection of the Europos Parkas, Open Air Museum of Central Europe in Vilnius, Lithuania The first group of Walking Figures, made of burlap, then of bronze, is created 1999 Bambini are put on display in the gardens of the Palais Royal in Paris, along with Cor-Ten Armours, giant heads made of Cor-Ten steel. The artist is elected member of the Order of Merit 2000 Creation of large four-legged beings, the Mutants, made of welded steel 2001–2002 The thus far numerically largest installation with 112 figures is erected in the Cytadela Park in Poznan, Poland 2002 Space of Stone, 22 granite rocks, is erected at the Ground of Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, USA. The cycle Coexistence, large striding figures with animal-like heads, is created from burlap and synthetic resin 2002–2003 Abakanowicz creates the stainless steel Embryologies 2003–2004 The group of 20 Big Figures is permanently installed in front of the Princeton University Art Museum, NJ, USA 2004 Abakanowicz is elected Tree Artist of the Year by the Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen. Creation of a commissioned work, Figura Ultima, which belongs to the series Hand-like Trees. The artist creates a group of 10 iron striding figures for the Herbert Gerisch Foundation in Neumünster, Germany 2005 Creation of the Flyers series, large bird-like sculptures with two or four wings, made of welded steel. In honour of her oeuvre the artist receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center, New York 2005–2006 Installation of the permanent Agora group with 106 larger than life-sized sculptures for the Grant Park, Chicago, IL, USA 2005–2007 Abakanowicz creates King Arthur's Court, sculptures made of welded steel, which bear the names of the Knights of the Round Table 2008 First exhibition of King Arthur's Court in the Palacio de Cristal in the Parque del Buen Retiro of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid 2010 Installation of Crossroad, a group of four allegorical figures, made of stainless steel, in Warsaw Magdalena Abakanowicz lives and works in Warsaw. Apart from sculpture, she paints and draws bodies, faces, flowers and insects. She writes metaphorical texts concerning her observations of nature and life.