Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MIROSŁAW BAŁKA NONETHELESS Galerie Nordenhake Gmbh Lindenstraße 34 Berlin 10969, DE, by craniv boyd.

MIROSŁAW BAŁKA NONETHELESS Galerie Nordenhake Gmbh Lindenstraße 34 Berlin 10969, DE, by craniv boyd.


Minimalism the sublime, symbolic attributes of wooden forms, purposeless structures for contemporary observing possess a definite Catholic vibration, when in the hands of Warsaw born and based artist Mirosław Bałka´s current exhibition at the Berlin outpost of Swedish gallery Nordenhake.


The sculptures are titled as numbers 268 x 142 x 54, 84 x 40 x 22 from year 2008 or 130 x 32 x 17, 46 x 32 x 2 from year 2009, these numbers may be the dimensions of each part of these found material weathered wooden works, the numerals contribute an air of quantifiable or scientific method the „x"'s which punctuate them seem to codify size of art objects, however the form of the recycled arte povera esque work titled 268 x 142 x 54, 84 x 40 x 22 brings with it a visceral power that one usually feels when confronted by a totem pole or in a catholic church. It is a plank a pillar of greyed out wood, it has a spotlight on it and it is striking, there is a small bench like object that contains in my mind at least a very distinctive look or functionality of a church pew. The artist and gallery may be keen to emphasize that this is a neutral open and rather formal trope to underscore distance between observer and the art object that they behold. This neutrality is holding back, Mirosław Bałka´s work makes it clear with the pew like plank with a small raised ledge that the space from which viewer ship should look at his minimalist work is one of reverence. The plank is a low as you can get, installed directly on the floor, and the plinth directly in front of it were we to get knee bound would tower even more over us than it already does as we stand.


Reverence for spiritual minimalism, from an artist living in a nation (majority Catholic) that happens to be the country of origin from the former Pope newly beatified. Warsaw film maker Krzysztof Kieslowski and his classic for television based on the ten commandments the Decalogue, set in a Warsaw apartment complex, could be of interest in understating the national psyche of Poland, current urban dwellers and an artist or Film auteur's filter of god and the modern man. In Decalogue: Jedan,  we have a single parent situation, where the father a mathematician and computer scientist distracts his son from the ambiguous absence of his mother by educating him with the mechanics of computer programming. Their characters have developed an algorithm together to measure the stability of the ice on a near by lake with input from meteorological reports, they are able to measure and infer. Those familiar with the film know that their data although accurate, has tragic ramifications because of their trust in it. We have numbers, and we have God opposing and in Kieslowski's film which is in no means dogmatic despite its moralistic theme shows that science and the church have been at times at odds. To tie into Mirosław Bałka´s sculpture 268 x 142 x 54, 84 x 40 x 22 from year 2008 we have numbers that title a work that looks Catholic and what I call a pew, although Bałka via a trans disciplinary practice inclusive of found materials sculpture that dovetails with the postwar Italian avant garde we have or see belief or an experience of believing in a Gallery setting (which is a commerce environment despite all appearances) that from looking at names in the „stable" alone has a Nordic and Slavic tack. We have numbers of the title, that describe and identify what kind of an experience the public is there to have,(secular) numbers that in their presence hid the other numbers of price. By craniv boyd. 

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