Miroslaw Balka (Poland)
bio: Miroslaw Balka was born in 1958 in Warsaw, Poland. Lives and works in Warsaw and Otwock. Sculptor, also working in experimental video and drawing. In 1985 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, where since 2011 he has run the Studio of Spatial Activities at the Faculty of Media Art. Between 1986 and 1989 together with Miroslaw Filonik and Marek Kijewski he established the art group, Consciousness Neue Bieremiennost. He was awarded a Mies van der Rohe Scholarship by Krefeld Kunstmuseen in 1991. Member of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.
Balka has participated in major exhibitions worldwide including: Venice Biennale (1990, 2003, 2005, 2013; representing Poland in 1993), documenta IX, Kassel (1992), Sydney Biennale (1992, 2006), The Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1995), Sao Paulo Biennale (1998), Liverpool Biennial (1999), Santa Fe Biennale (2006). In 2009 he presented the site-specific commission How It Is, Unilever Series, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London. Other works include the Memorial to the Victims of the Estonia Ferry Disaster in Stockholm (1997) and numerous spatial works including AUSCHWITZWIELICZKA, Cracow 2010, and HEAL, University of California, San Francisco 2009. A series of conversations between Balka and Professor Zygmunt Bauman were published in 2012. In 2015 he created the stage design for Paweł Mykietyn’s opera The Magic Mountain. He has participated in numerous panel discussions, including with Juan Vicente Aliaga, Julian Heynen, Anda Rottenberg, Kasia Redzisz, Anja Rubik, Joseph Rykwert and Vicente Todoli.
In 2015, Balka initiated a series of three major solo exhibitions with the exhibition Nerve. Construction at the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz. The aim was to present a retrospective of thirty years of creative work. Subsequent exhibitions have taken place in 2017 – CROSSOVER/S at Pirelli Hangar Bicocca in Milan and DIE SPUREN at Museum Morsbroich in Leverkusen.
Selected solo shows include Freud Museum, London (2014); Centre for Contemporary Art, Vinzavod, Moscow (2013); Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (both 2011); Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (both 2010); Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna Rio de Janeiro (both 2007); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen K21, Düsseldorf (2006); Museum of Contemporary Art, Strasbourg (2004); Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw and SMAK, Gent (both 2001); National Museum of Art, Osaka (2000); Museu Serralves, Porto (1998); Museet for Samtidskunst, Oslo (1997); Tate Gallery, London (1995); The Lannan Foundation, Los Angeles (1994); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Renaissance Society – University of Chicago (both 1992).
Balka’s works are held in numerous permanent collections including: Tate Modern, London; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; MOCA, Los Angeles; SFOMA, San Francisco; MOMA, New York; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC; Art Institute, Chicago; The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Museu Serralves, Porto; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Kiasma, Helsinki; Kroller Muller, Otterlo; The National Museum of Art, Athens; The National Museum of Art, Osaka; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Collection Lambert, Avignon; Middelheimmuseum, Antwerp; Fundación Botín, Santander; Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb. In Poland: Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz; Centre of Contemporary Art, Warsaw; Zacheta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; The National Museum, Wroclaw; MOCAK, Cracow; Labirynt, Lublin; Arsenał, Bialystok.
‘At last light, Balka starts filming an apple tree, laden with ripening fruit. He says he treats his handheld camera like a vacuum cleaner, “cleaning the space, taking it home and emptying the bag”. This incongruous tree makes him think of Adam and Eve and the garden; but whatever we talk about feels hollow. This is a place for silence’.
From the interview by Adrian Searle (The Guardian)
Apple T, 2009/2010, video, sound