Magdalena Abakanowicz


Presence, Essence, Identity

The Old Mine, Centre for Science and Art, Wabrzych in collaboration with All that Art Foundation and Magdalena Abakanowicz Studio are delighted to present the exhibition Magdalena Abakanowicz: Presence, Essence, Identity, the secondretrospective of the late artist curated by Maria Rus Bojan. 

Exhibition in the center’s main gallery for contemporary features a compelling selection of Magdalena Abakanowicz’s sculptures, ranging from the early 1970’s to the late 2000’s, including an outdoor display of rare monumental works.

One of the most acclaimed Polish artists on the world art scene, Magdalena Abakanowicz gained her international notoriety in the 1960’s for her experimental, and highly uncommon at the time, fiber sculptures entitled generically Abakans. The fluid woven structures made of organic materials significantly expanded the traditional meaning of sculpture, transforming the flat surface of a tapestry into a dynamic space-organized form that triggers complex visual and tactile experiences.

Throughout her entire life, Magdalena Abakanowicz devoted her entire creative energy to the restless exploration of the dialectical relationship the human being shares with the larger natural world, translating her awareness about the essence of things into unique sculptural representations. Resisting all categories, Abakanowicz’s representations are intelligent forms of physical thinking that challenge conventional ideas of art and raise questions that are essential and universal to human experience.

This exhibition propose a consistent overview on the artist’s creation, highlighting key works from all stages of her career, revolving around crucial themes, such as freedom and loss, resurrection and destruction, identity and difference. Featuring more than 100 sculptures, the exhibition aims to advance the understanding of what the key issues Presence, Essence, Identity meant for Magdalena Abakanowicz, and how she revolutionized the history of sculpture through a lifelong commitment to constant reinvention.

This presentation at The Old Mine Center for Science and Art is the second installment of an individual retrospective presentation of works by Magdalena Abakanowicz in an unusual industrial and public space.

Following the success of the 2017 Wroclaw’s exhibition Effigies of Life, A tribute to Magdalena Abakanowicz curated by Mariusz Hermansdorfer together with Maria Rus Bojan, this new presentation proposes a new selection of works, which celebrates the long life collaboration and friendship between Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017) and the visionary curator and art historian Marius Hermansdorfer (1940-2018).

The works come from the artist’s private collection, Irmina Nazar and Artur Trawinski collection, MARe Collection, Nowa 20_21 Collection 

Opening reception: Sunday, September 30th, 3 pm

The exhibition will run from 1st October through 30th December 2018

Exhibition curated by Maria Rus Bojan (NL)

Produced by All That Art Foundation, Wroclaw in collaboration with the Abakanowicz Studio, Warsaw.


The exhibition was made possible with the generous support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.


Main Sponsor: Art East Foundation, London

Sponsors: The City of Wałbrzych, Sleep Walker Boutique Hotel

For more information, please contact the gallery at Park Wielokulturowy Stara Kopalnia, Piotra Wysockiego 29, 58-304 Wałbrzych, or visit our website at


Magdalena Abakanowicz was born in Falenty, Poland, and has lived and worked in Warsaw until she has passed away in 2017.

Abakanowicz won the gold medal at the 7th International São Paulo Art Biennial in 1956 and represented her country in the Polish Pavilion at the 1980 Venice Biennale. The artist presented her works in more than a hundred solo exhibitions in museums globally, including: the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (1968), The National Museum Stockholm (1970), Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1975), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (1982), Das Städel Museum, Frankfurt (1989), Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (1991), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1999), Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris (1999), Museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague (2003) and more recent retrospectives staged at the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest (2005), Trondheim Art Museum (2008), Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2008), the Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf (2008) and many other institutions and galleries.

Her works form part of the permanent collection of major museums worldwide, including: Australian National Gallery of Art; Busan Museum of Modern Art; Hiroshima City Museum; Centre Pompidou; Tate Modern; Metropolitan Museum of Art; MoMA; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC.; Walker Art Center and the National Museum in Warszawa and Wroclaw.


Maria Rus Bojan is an international curator of Romanian origin based in Amsterdam, who is specialized in Eastern European modern and contemporary Sculpture.



The Old Mine Science and Art Centre in Wałbrzych is a unique facility on the map of revitalized industrial complexes in Poland. The former “Julia” (“Thorez”) Coal Mine is one of the largest preserved complexes of mining industrial buildings in Europe – over 4.5 ha – dating back to the late 19th and 20th centuries, with as many as 16 buildings listed in the register of monuments and a well-displayed mining machinery park. The Old Mine houses the Museum of Industry and Technology, the Gallery of Contemporary Art and the Unique Ceramics Centre.

In 2015, The Old Mine won the prestigious title of “The Best Kept Monument” granted by the National Heritage Board of Poland, which additionally emphasized the unique character and the scale of revitalization works conducted in the whole former industrial complex.

The Gallery of Contemporary Art of The Old Mine Science and Art Centre in Wałbrzych is open every day, with tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (the last entry at 4 p.m.)

Ticket office / Tourist information
(74) 667 09 70

Secretary’s office
(74) 667 09 00


Park Wielokulturowy Stara Kopalnia
ul. Piotra Wysockiego 29
58-304 Wałbrzych