WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's leading visual artist, renowned sculptor and fiber artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, has died at age 86, the rector of Warsaw's Academy of Fine Arts said Friday.
Abakanowicz' work was notable for her larger-than-life, headless human figures, arranged in crowds in open spaces.
She primarily used thick fibers, hardened with synthetic resins. But she also worked with metals, stone and wood. Her pieces were disturbing and fascinating at the same time.
"Abakanowicz drew from the human lot of the 20th century, the lot of a man destroyed by the disasters of that century, a man who wants to be born anew," Andrzej Szczerski, head of the National Museum in Krakow, said.
Adam Myjak, rector of the Fine Arts Academy in Warsaw told Polish PAP agency that Abakanowicz has died, and the academy confirmed that to The Associated Press.
She began her artistic career as a painter, but soon moved to making three-dimensional pieces from soft fabrics and fibers, works now known as "Abakans." That led her to larger, firm sculpture forms built into natural surroundings.
Abakanowicz said it fascinated her to explore new techniques and to develop new forms.
"She showed that sculpture does not need to be in one block, that it can be a situation in space and that it can be made of fabrics," art critic Monika Branicka said.
Her works were shown around the world, including at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Tate Modern in London.
Culture Minister Piotr Glinski said her death was "sad news for Poland's culture."