Miroslaw Balka at OP EINHEM, Wroclaw, Poland
20.10.2018 – 31.01.2019
The Baroque tenement house on plac Solny in Wrocław has a long history. Its new chapter begins in the lavish reception rooms of its now empty ground floor, on white walls tattooed with fragile neon tubes of glowing gas. This work by Mirosław Bałka, which initiates the activity of the OP ENHEIM gallery, is of a very special nature. It is composed of four words meaning “homeland” in Polish, German, Hebrew and Latin. The same notion resonates differently in each of these languages, thus we are dealing here with a reflection on the concept of the singular in multitude: visually, these are four different words which refer to the same idea but have slightly different meanings. After all, the building’s successive residents may have had different understandings of “homeland”. And different shades of meaning are contained in the languages they spoke. Some of the words are written in reverse: they turn around and look back at history in hindsight, just as we do from today’s perspective, trying to understand the no longer comprehensible meanings that successive generations assigned to the different sounds of their word for “homeland”.
This is a most concise commentary on the history of this particular house in the center of the city, and at the same time an insightful reflection on the transient nature of a concept that is so often used in everyday language. The neon lights that form the words expose the fragility of our beliefs about our place in the world, and the ambivalence of the feelings that connect us to it.
Anda Rottenberg, exhibition curator