Installation view of Miroslaw Balka’s Nonetheless (2011), via Nordenhake.
In a show titled “Nonetheless”, Polish artist Mirosław Bałka presents four recent pieces at Berlin’s Galerie Nordenhake. The works are composed of wood, nails, steel, plastic, concrete, glass, and light, and have titles referencing the pieces’ dimensions. “Nonetheless” hints at an ability do more than expected, which be said of the exhibition itself.
More text and images after the jump…
Miroslaw Balka, 268 x 142 x 54, 84 x 40 x 22 (2008), via Nordenhake.
“Nonetheless” uses materials in combines that are proportioned to the human body in a manner that invites visceral response, and references entropic potential. The main piece, “268 x 142 x 54, 84 x 40 x 22,” is composed of wood, nails, and a glass and consists of two separate parts. A tall wooden column-like structure acts as a pedestal for a small glass, positioned on the viewers left. In front of the structure, a small wooden step-like piece distances the viewer but also seems to invite a grab for the glass. A nearly concrete, steel, and brick piece, “105 x 25 x 25″ consists of a concrete base with a narrow steel rod rising up to present a brick, also tantalizingly close to arms length.
Miroslaw Balka, 105 x 25 x 25 (2008), via Nordenhake.
The last two pieces in the show recall Bałka’s concern with memory and are made of objects imbued with significance. “130 x 32 x 17, 46 x 32 x 2,” consists of four cafeteria trays collected from Polish Ministry of Culture after the collapse of the communist-inspired regime; three joined lengthwise mounted on the wall, and the fourth laying flat on the ground. “120 x 80 x 15/ DB,” found in a darkened room off to the right, is composed of a wooden palette with a reddish light hidden in the center, which flashes at timed intervals.
Miroslaw Balka, 130 x 32 x 17, 46 x 32 x 2 (2008), via Nordenhake.
Miroslaw Balka, 120 x 80 x 15/ DB (2008), via Nordenhake.
Bałka’s artistic practice involves taking simple objects, like a plank of old wood or a glass, and allowing them to hint at meaning. In this exhibition, the objects were relatively small compared to other work such as the giant “How It Is” (2009), which was produced for the Tate Modern’s Unilever Series and measured 13 meters high x 30 meters long. In “Nonetheless”, the smaller scale of the pieces and the composition of the pieces produce a sense of delicacy – the glass is lightly balanced on top of a wooden sculpture that itself looks soft; the brick floats above the ground on a slim steel rod, freed from mortar, blinking light in the wooden palette highlights an absence, and the trays remind that even big governments are fragile. “Nonetheless” is on view until June 25th.