Plecy / Backs sculpture by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Plecy / Backs sculpture are twelve hollowed-out human figures that are sitting in a row. They were made by Magdalena Abakanowicz from Poland in the year 1974.

Elements of this artwork

Lines

There are various lines on the back of this sculpture. The lines are used to shown that the sculptures are bent forward like some people in a prayer or some moaning or people in some punishment. The lines are curved and short but thin. The lines are used to make the sculptures to appear as if they are bent forward in the way of hiding their faces. The lines are also used to show the shape of the sculptures. There are hands held in a way that shows they are in a prayer while some lines at the back are used to show the body figure on the back of their head to their buttocks.

The lines are vertical to communicate a sense of height.

Color. The color chosen for this piece of art is a bit dull and gray. The color was chosen to show that the people portrayed by the artwork were either in prayers or they are not in a happy mood. The dark color used in this piece of work also showed these people were not in a celebration mood but moaning something or are under punishment.

Shape.  They are made in a way that they appear bent, and their faces are hidden. Only their back can be seen. The objects are three dimensions. They have some mass. The shape is also organic; they are made from pieces of coarse sackcloth that are sewed and pieced together and bonding with its synthetic resign. It represents people in some moaning or prayers but not happy people or those in some celebratory mood. The shape is bent and hiding their face, and this shows that the images are sued to depict people that were under some punishment or in prayer mood or simply helpless. Their hands are in a shape that show they have either surrendered to something or begging for something.

Texture. The texture chosen for the artwork is rough. The pattern is also created by the use of texture as the roughness is show bending forward. The rough texture is used to show that they are not happy people but in are suffering from something either punishment or some phenomena.

Form: the artist chose organic form. They are made from pieces of coarse sackcloth. The artist might have chosen this form to stress on the message she was passing across. The shape of people with their faces hidden and made from organic materials clearly conveys the message she wanted to pass by giving it more weight so people would pay more attention to it.

The organic form was also sued to simulate the human body.

Volume and mass: the artist has used volume or mass to express a feeling or idea that people somewhere underwent through some suffering. They are bent forward hiding their faces as a sign of people in a moaning mood. They are in an open volume. They are hollowed inside or empty. This also is a sign of hopelessness or helplessness.

Space. Space, where these sculptures are, is filled with more of the same sculpture and no space. The artwork is three dimension and thus occupies more space. It is of our size and shape. This space. Space not occupied by the sculpture is known as the negative space and was used to show isolation each object stands alone with a uniform space between them, and this shows isolation.

Time and motion

The artwork shows at times when people were helpless such as a period of slavery or times of mass incarceration. They seem to have a motion bending forward.

Values: the color used in these pieces of artwork is dark or dull. This suggests lack of light or creates a somber mood.

Light: these pieces of artwork are three dimensional. They ae dark or dull in color and even the floor space they are seated is also dull in color. These were sued to create a dull mood of people in a gloomy mood.

 

Principle of Art

Emphasis: these piece of art are used to create a psychological focus on people undergoing some suffering even though it is not easy for the viewer to guess what kind of suffering it is. They are bending forward and hiding their faces from people who might be with them. It shows helplessness and begging for mercy.

Scale and proportion: they are big in size almost the size of real human being. They are all similar in shape and size to one another. They are located in the middle ground, and the scale is not small or too large but in the size of the human being.

Balance: the objects are three-dimensional. They are balanced in the space they occupy.

Rhythm: the objects are created many and in the same shape and size and even the color. This creates tension as they appear to be in a subdued mood or placed are being punished by someone.

Unity and variety: the artwork is unified and cohesive. They are placed together in an organized manner. There are the variety of colors even though they are close to each other. Some are dark, and some are dull but close to the color of the dark ones. These create unity of the in these objects.

Pattern. All these objects are placed seated and bending forward with their face hidden. These create a pattern of people in an organized arrangement.

Media and Technique

The objects are three-dimensional the limitation created by the chosen medium of these objects is that they cannot be moved frequently and easily from their place to other places for whatever purpose, unlike drawings or two dimensions that can be easily moved.

Drawing: the objects are not drawn but created with organic materials.

Painting: they are painted with a dull color, and this created a rough texture of the objects. It looks like the paint was sprayed since they are pieces of clothes.

Printmaking: there was no printmaking because the artwork was an organic three-dimensional object.

Sculptures: the sculpture is a high relief. The work was created through an additive process where materials are added to each other to create the object. The artist might have used a sewing machine and other tools that can bring the clothes together to make the form and thus resulted in a life-size object that resembles a human.

Alternative media: the art emphasizes on the product and idea that these objects show people who suffered from something.

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