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: Red Nerve, Castello di Ama, Siena (2019); 30/5780, Galeria Labirynt 2, Lublin (2019); [(.;,:?!–...)], Muzeum Śląskie, Katowice; 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: 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

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

A Body, 2021

Rubber, steel

77 × 42 × 44 cm

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

50 x 50 x 91 (pain relief), 2012

Concrete, 3 x Bayer aspirin pills

91 × 50 × 50 cm

50 x 50 x 91 (pain relief), 2012

Concrete, 3 x Bayer aspirin pills

91 × 50 × 50 cm

200 x 100 x 200 (wardrobe muzzle), 2012

Plastic strips, steel staples

200 × 100 × 150 cm

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

Installation view of In Bezug auf Die Zeit, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, via Stradella 4, Milan, 2017

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

15 x 22 x 19 (hard skull), 2006

Plastic, MDF

15 × 22 × 19 cm

15 x 16 x 5, 2006

Concrete

15 × 16 × 5 cm

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

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

3 in 1, 2008

ink on paper

21 × 15 cm; 41 × 40 cm framed

Ian Curtis, 2007

Ink on paper

20,8 × 14,7 cm

Two chimmeys, 2007

Ink on paper

20,8 × 15,7 cm

Listen to me please, 2007

Ink on paper

20,8 × 14,7 cm

public exhibitions

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

3.10.2022

Photo: Alessandro Moggi

Pirelli HangarBicocca

Milan

CROSSOVER/S

16.3 – 30.7.2017

Photo: Attilio Maranzano

Pirelli HangarBicocca

Milan

CROSSOVER/S

16.3 – 30.7.2017

Photo: Attilio Maranzano

Pirelli HangarBicocca

Milan

CROSSOVER/S

16.3 – 30.7.2017

Photo: Attilio Maranzano

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

House of Art České Budějovice

Budweis

Der Nachthauseweg

30.11 – 31.12.2017

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

Museum Morsbroich

Leverkusen

DIE SPUREN

24.9.2017 – 7.1.2018

Photo: Achim Kukulies

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

Muzeum Sztuki

Łódź

Poland

Nerve. Construction

27.11.2015 – 16.3.2016

Photo: Bartosz Gorka

Muzeum Sztuki

Łódź

Poland

Nerve. Construction

27.11.2015 – 16.3.2016

Photo: Bartosz Gorka

press

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

DIE SPUREN

Stefanie Kreuzer

DISTANZ VERLAG

Berlin

2018

CROSSOVER/S

Vicente Todoli

Mousse Publishing

Milan

2017

NERVE. CONSTRUCTION

Kasia Redzisz, Allegra Pesenti, Marta Dziewańska, Zbigniew Mikołejko, Jarosław Suchan, Maria Morzuch

Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi

Lodz

2017

„[(.;,:?!–…)]”

Alicja Knast, Anda Rottenberg

Muzeum Śląskie, Katowice

2017

Wir sehen dich

Julian Heynen, Pia Müller-Tamm, Regine Hess, Holger Jacob-Friesen

Verlag für moderne Kunst

Nürnberg

2010

How It Is

Helen Sainsbury

Tate Publishing

London

2009

Reflejos condicionados

Texts by Juan Vicente Aliaga, Julian Heynen, Miroslaw Balka

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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