biography

Miroslaw Balka was born in 1958 in Warsaw, Poland. He lives and works in Otwock, Poland and Oliva, Spain.

Comprising installation, sculpture, video, and drawing, Balka’s work has a bare and elegiac quality that is also underlined by the careful, minimalist placement of objects, as well as the gaps and pauses between them. Often using his own body as a “template” or first point of reference, Balka’s work might incorporate personal or self-referential substances such as ash, felt, salt, hairs and soap. Balka’s work deals with both personal and collective memories, especially as they relate to his Catholic upbringing and the collective experience of Poland’s fractured history. Through this investigation of domestic memories and public catastrophes, Balka explores how subjective traumas are translated into collective histories and vice versa. His materials are simple, everyday objects and things, often powerfully resonant of rituals and hidden memories.

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Miroslaw Balka was born in 1958 in Warsaw, Poland. He lives and works in Otwock, Poland and Oliva, Spain.

Comprising installation, sculpture, video, and drawing, Balka’s work has a bare and elegiac quality that is also underlined by the careful, minimalist placement of objects, as well as the gaps and pauses between them. Often using his own body as a “template” or first point of reference, Balka’s work might incorporate personal or self-referential substances such as ash, felt, salt, hairs and soap. Balka’s work deals with both personal and collective memories, especially as they relate to his Catholic upbringing and the collective experience of Poland’s fractured history. Through this investigation of domestic memories and public catastrophes, Balka explores how subjective traumas are translated into collective histories and vice versa. His materials are simple, everyday objects and things, often powerfully resonant of rituals and hidden memories.

Selected solo shows include: nehtyM, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan (2022); Red Nerve, Castello di Ama, Siena (2019); 30/5780, DIE SPUREN, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2017); CROSSOVER/S, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2017); Nerve.Construction, Muzeum Sztuki MS1, Lodz (2015); Fragment, Akademie Der Kunste, Berlin and CCA Warsaw (2011); Between Honey & Ashes, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2011); Ctrl, Monasterio San Domingo de Silos, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2010); Topography, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford (2009); How It Is, Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, London (2009); AAA + rauchsignale, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka (2007); Tristes Tropiques, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2007); Lichtzwang, K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2006); Eclipse, Kröller- Müller Museum, Otterlo (2001).

Miroslaw Balka has participated in major exhibitions worldwide including: A Century of the Artist’s Studio: 1920 – 2020, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2022); Venice Biennale (1990, 2003, 2005, 2013; representing Poland in 1993); documenta IX, Kassel (1992); Sydney Biennale (1992, 2006), The Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1995), São Paulo Biennale (1998), Liverpool Biennial (1999), Santa Fe Biennale (2006). In 2009 he presented the special project How It Is for the Unilever Series, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London. He is the author of 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 Miroslaw Balka and professor Zygmunt Bauman was published in 2012. In 2015 the artist created the stage design for Paweł Mykietyn’s Magic Mountain opera. He has participated in panel discussions with many distinguished speakers including Juan Vicente Aliaga, Julian Heynen, Anda Rottenberg, Kasia Redzisz, Anja Rubik, Joseph Rykwert and Vicente Todolí.

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images

237 × 23 × 23 / NowHereWe, 2022

Brass, steel, fabric

237 × 23 × 23 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

A Body, 2021

Rubber, steel

77 × 42 × 44 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Afrodyta Knidos, 2021

Charcoal, pencil on cardboard

200 × 140 cm; 216 × 156 × 5 cm framed

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Head of Niobe, 2021

Charcoal, pencil on cardboard

200 × 140 cm; 216 × 156 × 5 cm framed

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

85 kg, 2019

Concrete: 26 elements

19 × 90 × 73 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

250 x 14 x 13, 2017

Granite, steel, glass, red wine

250 × 14 × 13 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

250 x 14 x 13, 2017 (detail)

Granite, steel, glass, red wine

250 × 14 × 13 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

24 x 30 x 32, 2017

Terrazzo, plastic

20 × 30 × 31 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

24 x 30 x 32, 2017 (detail)

Terrazzo, plastic

20 × 30 × 31 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

71 x 65 x 21, 2017

Terrazzo, steel, salt rock, plastic

71 × 65 × 21 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

157 x 31 x 23 (chew me out), 2011

Wood, steel, carpet, plastic, chewing gum

157 × 31 × 23 cm

157 x 31 x 23 (chew me out), 2011 (detail)

Wood, steel, carpet, plastic, chewing gum

157 × 31 × 23 cm

107 x 42 x 38, 2010

Steel and terrazzo

107 × 42 × 38 cm

AAA/Rauchsignales + 186 x 138 x 2 + 26 x 25 x 45, 2007

Video, steel, mdf

Duration: 2' 22"

2 x (250 x 200 x 100) + Irma, 2006

Two boards and the photo of Irma Grese with skin coloured cosmetic - steel, MDF + Photo, paper

250 × 200 × 100 cm each board

61 x 59 x 31 / Sereno è, 2006/2017

Audio by Drupi, steel, loudspeaker, cable

61 × 59 × 31 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

15 x 22 x 19 (hard skull), 2006

Plastic, MDF

15 × 22 × 19 cm

Black Madonna Rocamadour, 2015

Ink on paper

21 × 15 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Tokyo 1940, 2015

Ink on paper

21 × 15 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

public exhibitions

MUDEC

Milan, Italy

Rainbow. Colori e meraviglie fra miti, arti e scienza

17.2 – 2.7.2023

Kunstmuseen Krefeld

Krefeld, Germany

Humans Nature Politics. Joseph Beuys in the Context of the Collection

8.10.2021 – 27.2.2022

Photo: Dirk Rose

Wawel Royal Castle

Kraków, Poland

All the King’s Tapestries: Homecomings 2021–1961–1921

18.3 – 31.10.2021

© Wawel Royal Castle, photo: Anna Stankiewicz

Centro Botin

Santander, Spain

Architecture into Art: a Dialogue

10.10.2020 – 14.3.2021

Photo: Vicente Paredes

Galeria Labirynt

Lublin, Poland

Miroslaw Balka-30/5780

28.11.2019 – 8.3.2020

Photo: Wojciech Pacewicz

Castello di Ama

Ama

Red Nerve

1.6.2023

Photo: Alessandro Moggi

Pirelli HangarBicocca

Milan

CROSSOVER/S

16.3 – 30.7.2017

Photo: Attilio Maranzano

House of Art České Budějovice

Budweis

Der Nachthauseweg

30.11 – 31.12.2017

Museum Morsbroich

Leverkusen

DIE SPUREN

24.9.2017 – 7.1.2018

Photo: Achim Kukulies

Muzeum Sztuki

Łódź, Poland

Nerve. Construction

27.11.2015 – 16.3.2016

Photo: Bartosz Gorka

press

Bałka and Mirra: on the other side of the mirror.

Beatrice Ciampa

Antinomie

November, 2022

Desiderio, Gravità e Unione: Miroslaw Balka alla Galleria Raffaella Cortese

Elena Bordignon

ATP Diary

October 30, 2022

Miroslaw Balka: l’arte come agorà, tra intimità e scambio

Silvia Conta

Exibart

October 13, 2022

Una conversazione con Miroslaw Balka per orientarsi nel "corpo della mostra" di Milano

Francesca Interlenghi

Il Giornale dell'Arte

September 21, 2022

Mirosław Bałka, o del mondo contaminato

Laura Quercioli Mincer

Antinomie

September 9, 2020

Una bodega con encanton

Hugo Riveiro

The New York Times Style Magazine

October 14, 2019

Le dolcezze del peccato di Miroslaw Balka al Museo del Fiore Sardo di Gavoi

Martina Matteucci

ATP Diary

June 30, 2019

Miroslaw Balka

Pirelli HangarBicocca and Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan, Italy

Francesca Tarocco

Frieze

June 29, 2017

Mirosław Bałka

Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, Poland

Krzysztof Kościuczuk

Frieze

February 11, 2016

Otwock, Poland: Site and Narrative

Tess Edmonson

Afterall

May 8, 2014

Miroslaw Balka. Segnare il tempo

Helga Marsala

Arte e Critica

January-March 2004

publications

1/1/1/1/1

Rottenberg, Anda; Wojnowski, Viola (texts by)

Op Enheim

Wrocław

2018

DIE SPÜREN

Kreuzer, Stefanie

DISTANZ VERLAG

Berlin, Germany

2018

CROSSOVER/S

Todoli, Vicente

Mousse Publishing

Milan, Italy

2017

NERVE. CONSTRUCTION

Dziewańska, Marta; Mikołejko, Zbigniew; Morzuch, Maria; Pesenti, Allegra; Redzisz, Kasia; Suchan, Jarosław (texts by)

Muzeum Sztuki

Łodz, Poland

2017

„[(.;,:?!–…)]”

Rottenberg, Anda

Muzeum Śląskie

Katowice

2017

Wir sehen dich

Heß, Regine; Jacob-Friesen, Holger (texts by)

Verlag für Moderne Kunst Nürnberg

Nürnberg

2010

Miroslaw Balka: How It Is

Sainsbury, Helen

Tate Publishing

London

2009

Reflejos condicionados

Aliaga, Juan Vicente; Bałka, Mirosław; Heynen, Julian (texts by)

Fundación Marcelino Botín

Santander

2007

video


Schule und Haus

2021

Artist talk with Mirosław Bałka and Julian Heynen Part of the program "Arbeit am Gedächtnis – Transforming Archives" at Akademie der Künste, Berlin


Contemporary Art and Contested Topics of the Past | Mirosław Bałka

2018

Moderated by Lizaveta German, Center for Urban History, Lviv, Ukraine


CROSSOVER/S

2017

Solo show by Miroslaw Balka at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan


Miroslaw Balka in conversation with Joseph Rykwert: Memory and Responsibility

2016

Video of a conversation between the artist Miroslaw Balka and the architectural historian and critic Joseph Rykwert (University of Pennsylvania), chaired by Pippo Ciorra (MAXXI) at the British School in Rome.

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