Poised and dignified, Magdelena Abakanowicz's statue Second Version of the First Open Arm Figure emanates a sense of timelessness suggestive of primeval wisdom. A solitary, headless figure standing with arms stretched out to its sides on top of a simple platform, it has a benign and emotive presence. Traces of the artist's hands are visible on its textured surface, which brings a pleasing sense of human handling to the solidity and permanence of the bronze from which it has been cast.
As the title suggests, Second Version of the First Open Arm Figure is conceived of as individual within a wider collective. Over the length of her esteemed career Polish artist Magdelena Abakonwicz has created over one thousand human figures. Although they share certain features, each figure has a unique texture, posture and personality. Residing in major museum and public and private collections worldwide, they have never been seen together, but are part of Abakonwicz's ongoing meditations on the idea of the crowd, or as she puts it, 'By unrepeatability within such quantity. A crowd of people or birds, insect or leaves, is a mysterious assemblage of variants of a certain prototype, a riddle of nature abhorrent to exact repetition or inability to produce it, just as a human hand can not repeat its own gesture.' (M. Abakonwicz, cited at: http://www.abakanowicz.art.pl/) Second Version of the First Open Arm Figure is an elegant eulogy to the departure of a fellow sculptor, reminding us of both of the irreplaceability of an individual and the wider human community to which they eternally belong.