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Miroslaw Balka at UMass Amherst and MoMA

24 stycznia, 2009

Miroslaw Balka at UMass Amherst and MoMA

The Polish Cultural Institute is pleased to announce: MIROSLAW BALKA: GRAVITY (University Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst) & AN EVENING WITH MIROSLAW BALKA (The Museum of Modern Art, New York)

On February 9, in the MoMA Modern Mondays series, Warsaw-based artist Miroslaw Balka will present and discuss his video and installation projects Sundays Kill More (2008), Postcards (2008), Mapping the Studio, Too, (2008), Bottom (1999/2003), and Bambi (from Winterreise) (2003). These works deal with both personal and collective memories, especially as they relate to the artist’s 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, but of the resulting works resonate with ritual, hidden memories, and the legacy of the Nazi occupation of Poland. Curated by Barbara London, The Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition Miroslaw Balka: Gravity at the Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (February 5 to March 29), will present a selection of recent video works by this internationally acclaimed Polish sculptor. This is Balka’s first solo American museum exhibition to focus on new video installations. Curated by Gregory Salzman.

Born in 1958 in Otwock, Poland, Miroslaw Balka was the son of a master masonry craftsman and the grandson of a headstone carver. Having grown up in Catholic Poland under a Socialist regime that rejected Western popular icons, Balka recalls that his childhood heroes were saints and martyrs. These religious and familial traditions lend his work a pervasive sense of sacredness, a somber view of history and the individual\'s relationship to it. Balka uses simple means to record everyday moments and observe details. Tiny events produce images of great intensity, touching on fundamental human experiences, fears, and hopes. Many of the projections have small sculptural additions that give them a concrete place in the exhibition space, involving the ephemeral medium of video in a physical reality. His work deals with memory and forgetfulness, presence and absence, the remnants of history, and their relationship to the body and living memory.

Miroslaw Balka\'s work has been the subject of many one-person exhibitions internationally, including the Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Ghent; National Museum of Art, Osaka; Museet for Samtidskunst, Oslo; IVAM, Centre Del Carme, Valencia; Kunsthalle Bielefeld; Centre d\'art contemporain, Thiers; Tate Gallery, London; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld; and Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. Miroslaw Balka represented Poland at the 1993 Venice Biennale. He lives and works in Warsaw.

A brochure will be published with an essay by Barbara London, and an interview between Balka and curator Gregory Salzman.

The University Gallery gratefully acknowledges support from the Polish Cultural Institute, New York; the Fine Arts Center Friend\'s Artist Residency Fund, the Walter Raleigh Amesbury, Jr., and Cecile Dudley Amesbury Professorship for Teaching and Research in Polish Language, Literature and Culture; and assistance from the Gladstone Gallery, New York, and White Cube, London.

An Evening with Miroslaw Balka is organized by The Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute in New York.