Abakanowicz: Walking Figures
The second installation of sculptures installed by the Vancouver Biennale in the City of North Vancouver (in addition to Wang Shugang’s sculptures) are the Walking Figures, a group of headless cast iron figures by one of my favourite artists, Magdalena Abakanowicz. These are installed individually on the sidewalk over several blocks of Lonsdale Avenue.
I still remember well Abakanowicz’ similar stunning figures called Vancouver Ancestors, set together as a powerful group on a grassy slope in Queen Elizabeth Park in 2006, also part of that year’s Vancouver Biennale.
Though I did not have the time to visit all the Walking Figures, I was excited to see several of these. Yet I did not feel these had the power of the Ancestors because they stood alone and apart next to a very busy street. I can understand the reasoning for this kind of installation – to expose art to people in their daily movements on the street, so much more prevalent in many European cities. In my short time there as I took photographs, I also observed the human traffic and it seemed not one person paused to look at them, though maybe some had already viewed them earlier if they regularly passed by them.