press release

Polish artist Miroslaw Balka will undertake the tenth commission in The Unilever Series for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern.

Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1958, Balka lives and works in Warsaw and Otwock. Including installation, sculpture and video, his works explore themes of personal history and common experience, drawing on his Catholic upbringing and the fractured history of Poland. Intimate and self-reflective, his works demonstrate his central concerns of identifying personal memory within the context of historical memory.

Memorials play an important role in Balka's personal experience - his grandfather was a monumental stonemason and his father an engraver of tombstones. His early performances and sculpture referred to his experience of the rituals of Catholicism (perhaps made more intense in a country where religion was repressed), while in recent years he has focused on the Holocaust; for Balka a permanent scar on collective memory, with particular resonance in Warsaw and Otwock.

Despite his austerity of form and the seriousness of his subject matter, Balka's work is often imbued with warmth, reflecting his view that:

"After seeing the sadness inscribed in the works maybe some spectators can see that joy can also be found in those moments of life that one lives to the full."

The Unilever Series:
Miroslaw Balka