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Google Doodle Celebrates Katarzyna Kobro: Who Was She and Why Is She Being Honored?

Newsweek logo Newsweek 1/26/2022 Harrison Abbott

Polish sculptor Katarzyna Kobro is the subject of Wednesday's Google Doodle, to commemorate what would be her 124th birthday.

Temporary changes like this are often made to the search engine logo, usually to memorialize the anniversary of historic events, celebrate special occasions like the Day of the Dead, or honor people of great cultural significance.

Artists are a recurring theme within these Google Doodles (in the past year, for example, we've had tributes to surrealist French photographer Claude Cahun and the late potter We:wae) and you can often learn a lot by researching them.

Case in point, the graphic for Wednesday, January 26 is dedicated to Katerzyna Korbo, a prominent figure in the constructivism movement. If you are not familiar with this particular branch of art, it was basically a sub-genre of the avant-garde that strived to reflect the look of the modern industrial world (circa the 1920s).

Constructivist pieces are known for being austere, stripped down and heavily focused on geometric forms. The movement was particularly popular in eastern European countries like Poland and Russia, where it initially gained traction.

Who was Katarzyna Kobro?

Kobro was born in Moscow on January 26, 1898. Having developed a taste for culture, she enrolled in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in 1917, after spending some time as a voluntary nurse. There, she met various like-minded individuals who were similarly keen on rejuvenating the Russian art world.

On that note, Kobro created her first sculpture "Tos 75- Struktura" in 1920, which was a surreal fusion of shapes that were fashioned out of metal, wood, glass and cork. Following this, she moved to Poland with her new husband, the internationally renowned painter Władysław Strzemiński, where she lived for much of her life.

After attaining Polish citizenship, Kobro continued to produce ground-breaking constructivist pieces, including the 1925–1933 series "Kompozycja Przestrzenna" (which translates to Spatial Compositions) and a number of other abstract sculptures.


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Why is Google Doodle celebrating Katerzyna Korbo?

Google Doodle is honoring Korbo on what would have been her 124th birthday. because, as they put it, she was "an intellect who shaped the art world."

In 1931, she co-wrote a philosophy book with Strzemiński, entitled "Composition of Space: Calculations of Space-Time Rhythm, which expressed many of her views on art and how she wished to see the field become more attuned with modern science. This was a theme that she would later return to when she signed the 1936 Manifeste Dimensioniste (aka The Dimensionist Manifesto).

Kobro died in February 1951. A great deal of her work was lost when she and Strzemiński fled the Nazi occupation of Poland. However, art historians spent the latter half of the twentieth century restoring and reproducing many of her sculptures, while the surviving originals are currently on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Korbro's legacy also lives on in Wednesday's Google Doodle, which pays homage to her works by having her unique sculptures form the letters of the word "Google".

Image shows the Google Doodle for January 26, 2022. This one is themed around Polish artist Katarzyna Kobro. Google © Google Image shows the Google Doodle for January 26, 2022. This one is themed around Polish artist Katarzyna Kobro. Google

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