ceramic, 38 × 109 × 25 cm each one (7 figures)
The Bambini donated by Magdalena Abakanowicz to the Foundation – at the end of her solo exhibition in 2009 – belong to a series of her works in which the artist gives shape to "“vaguely human and decidedly uneasy figures. The harbinger of these images can be traced back to a pre-socialist Poland caught up in the bloody events of the Second World War. The revolution imported by the Bolsheviks was above all, in fact, a consequence of the conflict that Hitler unleashed with a first attack on the Danzig Corridor. It was said at the time that the dictator had wanted to bring a carriage filled with boys and girls with Aryan features from Poland to Germany: orphans, or alleged to be, these young people were abducted from their homeland to be turned into perfect Germans. But as the brutality of life and the circumstances would have it, those splendid human specimens froze to death during the icy night on which they made their journey. The next morning, when the doors of the carriage were opened, their stiff bodies tumbled out like ninepins. This scene, even if only imagined on the basis of someone else’s account, became a seed for the colonies of Ragazzi, Bambini, Puellae (the titles are in Italian and Latin) and for the platoons of helpless, weather-beaten individuals in general, initially made out of natural fibre and then many other materials, that play an essential part in Magdalena Abakanowicz’s sculpture. We see them as armies of rags or as living dead, as beings that are no longer intact — their bodies often no longer have heads or lack some other peripheral part. [...] In the series of Magdalena’s sculptures, figures do not represent Jews on their way to the gas chamber nor soldiers returning from defeat. They are not narrations of a particular story but recount the suffering of every war and every situation in which oppression and violence is inflicted on the weak. They are masses or rather clusters of people that commemorate any possible holocaust, from the Shoah of the Jews to the internees of communism and the victims of wars of religion. They are also individuals, in flight, stripped of everything except the material of which they are made".
from: Magdalena Abakanowicz. Space to Experience, exhibition catalogue, edited by A. Vettese, Milano, Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, 2009, pp. 39-40.