Thursday, October 9, 2014

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Hitler, and Moms

I asked my daughter once, as she was young and idealistic and feeling the burdens on her young shoulders of everything that is "wrong" with the United States Government.  We were driving along in our car, safe from what so many people in the world experience as horrors in their everyday existence (and this was about a year before 9-11);  I think I said - "don't you ever think how nice it is that there are no bombs dropping around (or on) us?  Why do you think that is?"

Imagine this.  You're a 9 year old little girl living in a big house with your family, (who happens to be quite comfortably wealthy) and one day, the city you live in is invaded, your home is seized and burned, and your mother is shot dead in front of you.

I'm going to talk about each of the artists in the WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution show by alphabetical order.  Doesn't that sound orderly?  :) and
Magdalena Abakanowicz is first on our list.

Magdalena Abakanowicz was born in Poland in 1930 and was 9 years old when Poland was invaded by the Nazis.

You see?  Back in 1938 Hitler wanted Poland as a continuation of his expansion efforts that started with the lands bordering Czechoslovakia and Germany (then called Sudentenland), and then Czechoslovakia itself in 1939.  He managed to get away with this without causing any hostilities with the two superpower countries at the time.  Ah.  That would be the United States and the Soviet Union.

I need a map.

There.  I feel much better now.

Anyway.  In his infinite wisdom, ol' Adolf thought to himself.  "My people need to stretch out some more.  I think Poland would be a nice addition to my collection.  And, after all, the native Slavs (which should make nice slaves) aren't really people and all...."

Oh.  No...that's not exactly it.  He felt that the Germans were "racially superior..." and in the hopes of going unnoticed about his little takeover of Poland, he got some Nazi S.S. troops to dress up as Polish soldiers and stage a mock invasion of Germany and publicized the "Polish attack" as an "unforgivable act of aggression" so he could call his invasion a "defensive action."

Had Hitler's mother still been alive I don't think she would have been particularly proud of this sneaky tactic - but it has been argued that the way she died was one of the reasons he was...the way he if such evil could be explained away somehow.  But don't we humans always try to make sense of things?

Let us pause for a moment and think about what is happening in the world at the moment and think about the saying; "history repeats itself."

How about another map?


Back to Magdalena Abakanowicz. 
1976-80, burlap and resin
life size h. 61-69 cm; depth 50-56 cm; width 55-66 cm
collection: Museum of Modern Art, Pusan, South Korea
From her website is this:
     Poland was a politically volatile country where instability was a permanent state. She has learned to escape to her corner, to make the best of things, to use whatever was viable and even to make gigantic works in a tiny studio. 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.
2001/2002, bronze
7 figures
each ca 165 x 150 x 55 cm
     The metaphoric language of her work has achieved a point of junction, which still is a challenge for mankind, for all its sophisticated civilization. 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.
2005-2006, iron
106 figures 285-295 x 95-100 x 135-145 cm
Permanent installation in Grant Park, Chicago
1974-79, figures: burlap and resin, pedestal: steel
Eighteen pieces, each figure ca. 104 x 51 x 66 cm
each pedestal: 76 x 46 x 22 cm
whole sculpture: 145 x 47 x 75 cm
Sydney Lewis Collection, Richmond, Virginia
Second group in Muzeum Narodowe, Wroclaw

Hope you are and will be enjoying these amazing artists as much as I am.

'Til tomorrow!