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Miroslaw Balka, Installation view (left: interior; right: exterior): Bottom, 2004. Video projection, continuous loop, salt, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York. Photos: Eric Swanson
Miroslaw Balka
curated by Klaus Ottmann
Santa Fe's Sixth International Biennial

Sunday, July 9, 2006 - Sunday, January 7, 2007

1606 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM
Admission: $10 General, $5 Students & Seniors, Free: Members; Free: All Visitors on Fridays, Tel: 505.989.1199
Hours: Wed.-Sat. 10-5, Fri. 10-7, Sun. 12-5, Closed Mon. & Tue.

SITE Santa Fe has provided a dynamic venue for artistic and curatorial experimentation since 1995, and its 6th Biennial continues this innovative tradition. Organized by independent curator Klaus Ottmann, Still Points of the Turning World minimizes the list of artists in favor of a deeper experience of immersion, and presents 13 artists' solo exhibitions. The majority of the works were made in the last 2 years, and 4 of the artists were commissioned by SITE Santa Fe to create works expressly for the Biennial, among them video and installation artist Miroslaw Balka, one of Poland's most prominent artists.

Miroslaw Balka's oeuvre is essentially autobiographical, drawing on a personal history shaped by political and religious constraint, but also by symbolic and monumental representation: his grandfather was a gravestone cutter and his father engraved the names on the tombstones. Balka's work is also strongly affected by collective memories of death: 8,000 Jews from his native town of Otwock were dispatched to the death camp of Treblinka in 1942. Born in 1958 in Warsaw, a child of the post-war legacy, Balka came into this world surrounded by that war's consequences.

Balka began his career with figurative sculpture. Since the 1990s his focus has shifted to more abstract installations but remains concerned with the human body and our existence - central subjects in Balka's art. Using steel, cement, salt, foam rubber and felt, his ascetic sculptures and sculptural and video installations reflect the precariousness of humanity within the rubble and dirt of earthly existence. The body, memory, vanishing, and creating private mythology are also among his most important themes. Balka's works have been shown at the most important international exhibitions and acquired by for major museum collections worldwide.

"Balka's sculptures have been described as austere, severe, even existential, one art critic going so far as to characterize his work as sharing the same attitudes as the writings of Samuel Beckett. [...] And, like Beckett, underlying the bleak content and material poverty of Balka's sculptures is a keen sensitivity, insight, and compassion for human suffering." - Peter Schjedahl, Miroslaw Balka - 36.6, exhibition catalogue,The Renaissance Society and the List Visual Arts Center at MIT, Chicago 1992

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More about Miroslaw Balka
Miroslaw Balka's detailed resume
More about the SITE Santa Fe's 6th International Biennial

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