Sep 12 — Oct 17
Marlborough Chelsea presents 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 along with new works by American and European artists both emerging and established. The exhibition is augmented by a solo presentation of
Abakanowicz sculptures at our Broome Street location.
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. The implication of injury, burns, unnatural contortions, masks and prosthetics is seen throughout. This is often in direct relation to the body, but also extends to commercial products and furnishings that act as analogs to the body or situate it in space. Strange material reversals appear as well, where steel and wood are bent into yielding compliance while supple woven wool withstands a caustic acid bath and the scorch of flames.
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.