Sep 12 — Oct 17, 2015
New York, Downtown

Marlborough is pleased to present WAR GAMES, a group exhibition inspired by the fierce and poetic legacy of Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. The show features a monumental sculpture from her 1987-1993 War Games series alongside new works by American and European artists both emerging and established. The exhibition is accompanied by a solo presentation of Abakanowicz sculptures at our 57th and Broome Street locations.

Zyk, Abakanowicz’s colossal cudgel of a sculpture, is defined by the implied violence of its battering ram/unlit-torch form, which works in tandem with the raw and rugged natural materials of a felled tree trunk, steel and burlap. More unexpected is the refinement and poise provided by the group of cylindrical steel barrels that act as both elevating plinth and crucial formal elements.

The other artists included in the exhibition share this rare combination of material struggle and a certain crafted elegance. Feral qualities lash out alongside a calmer consideration for design and the direct suggestiveness of the found object. In some cases, this is the result of Abakanowicz’s direct influence, and in others merely a shared contention with the unflagging violence of modern life—and the many ameliorating refinements that can adorn and mask this struggle, or highlight it as a crucial reminder. 

Participating artists:
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Anna Betbeze, Alexandra Bircken, Alicja Kwade, Joanna Malinowska, Justin Matherly, Jo Nigoghossian, Christopher Rivera, and Michael Sailstorfer


Installation View.
Anna Betbeze, Sapor, 2015, acid, dyes, ash, wool, 98 × 60 in., 248.9 × 152.4 cm
Sailstorfer, freedom fries am arbeitsplatz, mixed media, dimensions variable cnon 56.958
Michael Sailstorfer, Freedom Fries am Arbeitsplatz, 2014, mixed media, dimensions variable
Installation View.
Betbeze, pillow (tbt), 2015, acid, dyes, ash, wool, 144 x 102 x 24 in. 365.76 x 259.08 x 60.96 cm cnon 56.955
Anna Betbeze, Pillow (TBT), 2015, acid, dyes, ash, wool, 24 × 102 × 144 in., 61 × 259.1 × 365.8 cm
Alicja Kwade, Used and Tired, 2013, wood, 39 × 40 × 33 in., 99.1 × 101.6 × 83.8 cm
Installation View.
The Estate of Magdalena Abakanowicz, War Games “ZYK”, 1989, wood and iron, 215/8 × 191 × 215/8 in., 54.9 × 485.1 × 54.9 cm
Jo Nigoghossian, Hor d'oeurves, 2015, mixed media, 60 × 24 × 54 in., 152.4 × 61 × 137.2 cm
Rivera, okupa #3, 2015, carved wood, spray paint, hardware cnon 57.049
Christopher Rivera, OKUPA #3, 2015, carved wood, spray paint, hardware, 56 × 36 × 2 in., 142.2 × 91.4 × 5.1 cm
Malinowska, evolution of a paddle, 2015, dimensions variable cnon 57.047
Joanna Malinowska, Evolution of a Paddle, 2015, wood, paper, metal, plastic, textile, dimensions variable
Rivera, hanging, 2015, carved wood, concrete, spray paint, hardware cnon 57.050
Christopher Rivera, HANGING, 2015, carved wood, concrete, spray paint, hardware, 52 × 72 × 2 in., 132.1 × 182.9 × 5.1 cm
Matherly, as long as its truth and purity remain inviolate (view 4), 2011, cnon 56.921
Justin Matherly, As long as its truth and purity remain inviolate and no blasphemous rationality dares approach its sacred confines (Guilelessly open and deeply hidden), 2011, glass reinforced concrete, ambulatory equipment, 39 × 22 × 181/2 in., 99.1 × 55.9 × 47 cm


War games magdalena abakanowicz roberta smith the new york times marlborough