artist / participant
The exhibition project AGOGANYS at the Trnava synagogue – Center of Contemporary Art, presents a renowned Polish artist Miroslav Balka (1958) who in the last century´s early 90s established himself at the world international scene as one of the first from the so called eastern bloc (exhibitions Metropolis, Berlin 1991; Documenta IX, kassel 1992; Venice biennial, 1993 etc.).
It was around 1990 that Balka gives up figural sculpture (sculptures of cement, concrete, jute) and heads towards more abstract forms of expression. Thus he creates a dictionary of simple shapes, objects and spatial forms of expression – instead of working with figure it is just the body that comes to scene – tracks, prints, used articles, objects of the size of his own body as a certain pattern, etc. The concept of corporality, personal memory, record of time and tracks become the main topics of Balka´s work with leaking personal recollections, family background, the past lived through. In this way he creates numerous introvert objects and installations projecting personal memory into foreign environment, they present a „crystalline" memory and a history inscribed into the materials. Balka utilizes lots of unconventional materials and processes (rusty iron plates, old boards, concrete corridors, drapery, urns, soap, spilled salt, ash, keeping temperature, etc.
After 2000 Balka accomplishes also a variety of video works where, among others, you can find silent scenes of snow falling in a winter country near former concentration camps (Bambi, 2003). In the current Trnava project the author continues „dematerializing" the memory records and makes seven snow-machines sprinkling snow in certain intervals. Balka works both with genius loci, the former sacral architecture, and works with Jewish culture and tradition (seven points is a metaphor of seven-armed candlestick menorah), with personal and collective memory. He faces up to the past – i.e. holocaust, frailty and scatter. Hence the project presents a turn back to the past (the name of exhibition itself is an anagram – a play on words with reading the word „synagogue „ /"synagoga" in Slovak/ from the back, as well as a playful reversibility of given situation (snowing ball, indoor snow falling in summer.) In 2010, after Tate Gallery in London (Turbine Hall), Modern Art Oxford in Oxford, Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe Mirslaw Balka presents his work in Trnava gallery. This is his first independent exhibition in Slovakia at all.
Miroslaw BALKA, born in 1958 in Warsw, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1985). In 1998 he accomplished the project of Memorial to Victims of the Ferry Estonia in Stockholm. Since 2008 he has been running the Atelier of Spatial Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan. He lives and works in Warsaw and Otwock.
Participation in significant exhibitions (selection): Apperto Venice 1990, Metropolis Berlin 1991, Documenta IX Kassel, 1992, Carnegie International Pittsburgh 1995, ICA Philadelphia 1999, NG Prague 1999, National Museum Osaka 2000, 2008, Zacheta Warsaw 2001, White Cube London 2001, 2009, S.M.A.K Gent 2003, Venice Biennial 2003, 2005, National Tate Gallery London 1995, 2009/10, etc. He represented Poland at international shows: the Sydney Biennial 1992, 2006; Venice Biennial 1993; Sao Paolo biennial 1998; Liverpool Biennial 1999.
His works can be found in international collections: Muzeum sztuki Lódź, Tate Gallery London, The Museum of Modern Art New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Art Institute of Chicago, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Washington, Museet for Samtid kunst Oslo, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum Eidhoven, Fundation La Caixa Barcelona etc.
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