Ausstellungen Espace Focus

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Abakan Red III, 1970–1971, Toms Pauli Foundation, Lausanne

As part of our Year of Gender and Diversity, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum is proud to display Abakan Red III by Magdalena Abakanowicz in the Espace Focus from 21 October 2021 to 27 April 2022.


Magdalena Abakanowicz (Poland, 1930–2017)

Abakan Red III, 1970–1971, high-warp sisal tapestry

Toms Pauli Foundation, Lausanne, donated by Pierre and Marguerite Magnenat

A pioneer of Fiber Art, Abakanowicz was among the first to use sisal, a natural fibre derived from the agave plant, which she dyed blood red, earthen brown or deep black.

This piece is one of her “Abakans” (1966–1975): innovative creations somewhere between tapestry and sculpture, for which the artist invented a new term based on her surname. This major work of enigmatic abstract art has been installed here in the Espace Focus to prompt reflection on the past and present of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. What new interpretations does its volume and presence inspire? What can this artwork tell us in this context?

Abakan Red III is on loan from the Toms Pauli Foundation, which holds close to 50 pieces by Abakanowicz. In 2023, the Foundation will present a major retrospective of her work at the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne in partnership with London’s Tate Modern.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum is expanding its collaboration with Swiss public and private art collections. The Toms Pauli Foundation, located at the new PLATEFORME 10 arts district near the Lausanne train station since 2020, is dedicated to conserving and promoting collections of 16th- to 19th-century tapestries and embroidery and 20th-century textile art belonging to the State of Vaud.