Abakans: Revolutionary Art for the Past, Present, and Future
Abakans emerged in the 1960s in the Eastern Bloc and made Magdalena Abakanowicz famous beyond the Iron Curtain. The purpose of this article is to present a contemporary art framework for reassessing and reviving the revolutionary capacities of Abakans. To do that, the article asks what makes Abakans revolutionary art? What makes them groundbreakers and what makes them path-makers? What blueprint have we (contemporary artists) inherited (knowingly or unknowingly) from Abakans for responding to the revolutionary new phase of the planet's cycle, the Anthropocene? In response to these questions, the article is divided into three sections based on the past, present, and future through which the author's personal reflections entwine with artistic, theoretical, cultural, economic, ecological, spiritual, and socio-political contexts. What arises is that Abakans are one of the most original radical bodies of work of the twentieth century that offer forward-looking strategies for recuperating the damaged planet.