press release

The University Gallery is pleased to premiere recent video works by the internationally acclaimed Polish artist, Miroslaw Balka. This is the artist's first museum exhibition in the U.S. to focus on his new video installations.

Miroslaw Balka uses simple means to film everyday scenes and moments, most of them observations of details which go on to assume mysterious and poetic dimensions. His work is intimate and self-reflective, exploring personal memory within the context of historical memory, using deliberately limited means. Minute events produce images of great intensity, which touch upon fundamental human experiences, fears and hopes. A number of the video works have small sculptural additions or are projected onto a bed of salt that give them a concrete place in the exhibition space and a physical reality. Salt, a material the artist repeatedly uses in his video installations, has connotations of purification, preservation, sweat and tears.

His poetic works, recalling the tragedies of Western European history such as the Holocaust, although never in an overtly literal way, memorialize events through symbolic abstraction rather than distinct monument. His video works of the residue of memory, of presence and absence, and notions of displacement and journeys, meditate on what history leaves behind — the psychic repercussions alluded to in abstracted object — and ties it to the body and the memory of those living in the present.

Miroslaw Balka
University Gallery