reviews

Magdalena Abakanowicz

Marlborough Gallery | New York

Vivid memories of World War II and four decades of communism inform the art of the Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. The complexity of transforming autobiography into art was thoughtfully addressed in her two recent shows. At the Marlborough Gallery, her sculptures—scattered throughout the rooms and placed outside on the terrace—were drawn from Hand-like Trees, 1992–93, the series “Circus,” 1992, the multiple-figured Puellae, 1992–93, and Infantes, 1992. But the monumental Embryology, 1978–81, first presented at the Venice Biennale in 1980, dominated the show. A morass of 600 hand-stitched elements made of burlap, cotton, gauze, hemp, nylon, and sisal, shaped like boulders, stones, and pebbles, was arranged to allow the viewer to walk among these pieces. Like swaddling clothes for invisible babies, these elements formed a distressing pile of organic structures, thrown on top of each

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