Magdalena Abakanowicz: “Faces which are not portraits” (2004-2005)

The drawing series offers the vestige of a human face as a response to the headless figures that haunt the gallery. Egg shapes, echoed in other drawings, become phantoms of the human face.

While the faces in this series reflect some of Abakanowicz’s features, they confront the viewer as depressed or terrified existential masks with hollowed eyes, sometimes expressing a deeply detached sense of withdrawal and inwardness. Their graphic power resides in the artist’s use of brusque strokes of black and white gouache that grasp at fleeting moments of intense emotion. The gestures are primitive and immediate, as though barely able to articulate and give form to the pain they bear witness to.

The Faces are stark reminders that the exhibition’s title, The Reality of Dreams refers to the trauma and existential anxiety embodied by Abakanowicz’s life experiences and her disturbingly unforgettable symbols of the human condition.

Diane Thodos, artcritical.

 

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