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“From sand, artworks in glass”, Mirosław Bałka, 6 x (138 x 47 x 10)

14 Jan 2020 - 14 Feb 2020

A threshold to another world or perhaps fragments of a larger composition: thus the work 6 x (138 x 47 x 10) can be presented to the viewer. The panels made of Murano glass leaning against the wall are reminiscent of doors, the color is opaque and thanks to the reflections of light on the material the grain of the wood can be perceived. If the subject of Mirosław Bałka’s art is memory in his artistic work, the glance at an object in the past is indirect, obscured or blocked: the artist always seeks beauty in objects, even if they may have been recovered, like an old wooden board.

BUILDINGBOX is dedicating the 2019-2020 season to contemporary glass art with the project Dalla sabbia, opere in vetro (From sand, artworks in glass), an exhibition spread over 12 monthly appointments, curated by BUILDING in collaboration with Jean Blanchaert. The fourth artwork is 6 x (138 x 47 x 10) by artist Mirosław Bałka.

The title, Dalla sabbia, opere in vetro (From sand, artworks in glass), evokes the fascinating alchemy involved in creating this material from sand, using air and fire, presenting the work of contemporary artists who have chosen to explore the potential offered by this medium. It is the experimental approach that makes these works so exemplary and precious: they are conceived by artists who use various different techniques, some of which are not usually associated with the specific characteristics of glass. This project resonates with BUILDING’s mission of exploring the lesser known aspects and experimental side of the art world, along with more celebrated figures and practices.

Here the focus is on the creative relationship forged between the artist’s vision and the craft of master glassmakers. Easily shaped by skilled hands, glass assumes “fragile” forms that both connect with the artistic traditions of the past and at the same time open up to a formal perspective grounded in contemporary aesthetics. The theme of the project lies in the works themselves, rooted in an age-old history and ancient craft, bearers of a precise chemical combination of different elements developed 4000 years ago by the Phoenicians, and which still holds infinite potential.

For 12 months a sequence of works by various artists will be hosted in the independent showcase, visible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, marking the passing of time and eliciting broader reflections on how time tends to dominate space.

Biographical notes

Mirosław Bałka was born in 1958 in Warsaw, Poland. He lives and works between Warsaw and Otwock. He is a sculptor active in the field of video and experimental design. In 1985 he graduated from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts where, starting from 2011, he directs the Studio of Spatial Activities at Art Media Faculty. Between 1986 and 1989 together with Mirosław Filonik and Marek Kijewski he founds the artistic group Consciousness Neue Bieremiennost. Awarded with the Mies van der Rohe Stipend by Krefeld Kunstmuseen in 1991, he is a member of Akademie der Künste in Berlin. He received several commissions for public memorials, such as the monument to the victims of the disaster of Estonia Ferry in Stockholm in 1997, in AUSCHWITZWIELICZKA in 2009, in Cracow in 2010. He participated in many prestigious international events, such as documenta IX (1992), Kassel; Venice Biennale (1990, 1993, 2003, 2005, 2013); The Carnegie International (1995), Pittsburgh; Sao Paolo Biennale (1998); Liverpool Biennale (1999); Sydney Biennale (1992, 2006) and Santa Fe Biennale (2006). He has solo shows at Museum Arnhem (2014), Copenaghen; Museum of Art MS1 (2015), Lodz, Poland; The British School (2016), Rome. In 2012 a series of talks between Mirosław Bałka and professor Zygmunt Bauman has been released. In 2015 the artist created the scenography of the work Magic Mountainby Paweł Mykietyn. Artworks by Bałka are showcased in several institutional collections, such as Tate Modern, London; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; MOCA, Los Angeles; SFMOMA, San Francisco; MOMA, New York; Museo Hirshhorn, Washington DC; The Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Museu Serralves, Porto; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Kiasma, Helsinki; Kröller-Müller, Otterlo; EMST The National Museum of Art, Athens; National Museum of Art, Osaka; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Art Museum of Tel Aviv; Lambert Collection, Avignon; Middelheimmuseum, Antwerp; Fundación Botín, Santander; Contemporary Art Museum, Zagreb. In Poland his works can be found in collections such us Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz; Centre of Contemporary Art, Warsaw; Zacheta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Modern Art Museum, Warsaw; The National Museum, Wroclaw; MOCAK, Cracow; Labirynt, Lublino; Arsenał, Bialystok.