Three monumental sculptures by the artist Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017), Walking Figures, have joined the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) thanks to two generous donors, Marcel and Caroline Elefant. Art lovers first discovered the work in the summer of 2017 as part of the MMFA’s exhibition La Balade pour la Paix: An Open-air Museum. These impressive figures now “stride along” the Path of Peace in the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, on the Level 3 terrace, which will now be named for Marcel and Caroline Elefant. This is the first acquisition of this Polish artist’s work by a Canadian museum.
A high-flying installation
The installation of the three sculptures on the terrace was an impressive technical feat. Each “walker,” whose individual weight is nearly a ton, was solidly anchored in preparation to be lifted 17 metres in the air with a crane. Once they were hoisted to the rooftop, a half-dozen workers built a system of pulleys to fasten each sculpture to the others and to a metal base.
Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017), Walking Figures, 2005, cast iron, 284 x 135 x 71 cm (each). MMFA, purchase, gift of Marcel and Caroline Elefant. Photo © Sébastien Roy