While often austere and reductive in appearance, the formal association of Mirosław Bałka’s work with Minimalism veils the prominent corporeal presence of the artist in the work. In stark contrast to his predecessors, who used industrial materials in order to diminish the artist’s presence, Bałka places himself at the centre of his work by determining the dimensions of some pieces according to the measurements of his body, and by using these numbers as the titles of the works. This reduction of a human being to a mere set of data also conjures up the history of the Nazi occupation of Poland – the artist’s home country. Bałka uses the distinctively impersonal language of minimalism to explore the relationship between the private and the public, investigating how we negotiate the public space of the gallery with our bodies, and how personal traumas can be translated into collective histories.
- Preview: Partial Presence and Invites: Athena Papadopoulos. 29 January 2015