Pirelli HangarBicocca presents “CROSSOVER/S,” the first retrospective in Italy by Miroslaw Balka, one of the leading artists of the last three decades, whose work explores human life, human nature, and individual and collective memory. Reflecting on the history of Europe and especially of Poland, his birthplace and home, Balka draws on autobiographical elements and episodes to create works that address universal themes in a powerfully evocative way.
The exhibition, curated by Vicente Todolí, brings together fifteen iconic sculptures, installations, and videos made from the 1990s to the present, along with a new project, Holding the Horizon (2016), a video conceived specifically for the show at Pirelli HangarBicocca.
The artistic career of Miroslaw Balka (b. 1958 in Warsaw) began in the mid-1980s, with figurative sculptures connected to his own life story and to the historical and political context of post-war Poland. In the early 1990s, Balka abandoned anthropomorphic forms to concentrate on depicting symbolic objects like beds, pedestals and fountains, in works that allude to the human presence without ever portraying it. Frequently based on ordinary materials like wood, salt, ashes, soap, cement and steel, they often employ the dimensions of the artist’s own body as a unit of measurement, as the titles make clear. This creates a proportional relationship directly linking the human figure to space, vision, experience, and memory.
“CROSSOVER/S,” conceived for the Navate space at Pirelli HangarBicocca, is meant to focus public attention on this later period in Balka’s artistic investigation and oeuvre, through an immersive exhibition full of physical, symbolic, and temporal intersections, where even light and darkness take on a key role and where viewers are made aware of their own presence and function within the space. In the artist’s words, “It is important to remind the visitor that they are not only eyes, but also the body that walked in the space” (Miroslaw Balka, in Dylan Kerr, “Sculptor Miroslaw Balka on the Romance of Conceptual Art,” Artspace, 2015).
Curated by: Vicente Todolí
Pirelli HangarBicocca (press release)