Comprising installation, sculpture and video, Miroslaw Balka’s work has a bare and elegiac quality that is underlined by the careful, minimalist placement of objects, as well as the gaps and pauses between them.
Often using his own body and his studio as a template or first point of reference, Balka’s work might incorporate personal or self-referential substances such as ash, felt, salt, hair 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 catastrophe, Balka explores how subjective traumas are translated into collective histories and vice versa. His materials are simple, everyday objects and things, but also powerfully resonant of ritual, hidden memories and the history of Nazi occupation in Poland.
Miroslaw Balka was born in 1958 in Otwock, Poland where he continues to work. Solo exhibitions include ‘Fragment’, National Centre For Contemporary Art, Moscow; ‘Nachtgesichten’, WRO Art Center, Wroclaw (2013); Akademie Der Kunste, Berlin and CCA Warsaw; ‘Between Honey & Ashes’, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2011); Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2010); Modern Art Oxford, Oxford and Tate Modern, London (2009); Museum of Contemporary Art, Rijeka and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2007); K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2006); Museum of Contemporary Art, Strasbourg (2004); Kroller - Muller Museum, Otterlo (2001); Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2002) and Stedelijk Museum voor Actuelle Kunst (SMAK), Gent (2001). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including ‘Sculpture in the Close’, Jesus College, Cambridge; ‘Art Basel Unlimited 2013’, Basel; ‘Glasstress: White Light/White Heat’ and ‘The Encyclopedic Palace’ at the 55th Venice Biennale, Palazzo Cavalli, Venice (2013); ‘Building Memory’ CCA, Tel Aviv, HMKV, Dortmund and Museum Stzuki, Lodz (2010); SITE Santa Fe 6th Biennale, New Mexico (2006); Sydney Biennale (2006); Venice Biennale (2005, 1993 and 1990) and Documenta IX (1992).