Miroslav Balka, who lives and works in Otwock, Poland, creates sculptures that allude to the proportions and experience of the human body but could be mistaken for abstract geometry. The artist works with simple sharp-edged forms: boxes, slabs, and cylinders which quietly suggest beds, coffins, tombstones, or doors. He chooses hard, worn, industrial materials, occasionally adding softer, often organic substances – dust, ash, salt, felt, or foam rubber. Strange and subtle apertures can suggest eyes or ears or drains. The titles of the works are their proportions and the proportions are always based on the artist’s own body.
Despite their size and weight, the sculptures deliberately avoid the attention grabbing monumentality often associated with large-scale abstract work in steel. At MIT the viewer will be able to understand his pieces in situ, for they will be shown in a skeletal but full-scale architectural reconstruction of Balka’s cramped and multi-chambered workspace.
Peter Schjedahl writes in the exhibition catalogue, “Balka’s studio feels close to the center of the world anxiously contemplating questions of the persistence and possible transformation – destruction or redemption – of the human. It is something a visitor thinks about in Poland.”