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Miroslaw Balka at Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Poland

Miroslaw Balka is participating in the group show ‘The night will drive the heart‘ Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Poland. David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992) commented in one of his films: “I wonder what this little bug does in the world and if this little bug dies, if the world feels it? Or if it dies, does the earth feel it? Does something get misplaced? Do people speak language differently if this bug dies? Does the world get a little lighter in the rotation? If the planet goes a little faster if something like this dies? If some little kid somewhere wakes up with a bad dream because this bug dies? Or if the air that circles the earth goes a little faster if this bug disappears?” Wojnarowicz rose to prominence on the New York art scene in the 1980s, creating works that were both fiercely political and very personal. His practice combined artistic experimentation with statements about his own identity. He gained recognition for his relentless struggle against the hypocritical and intolerant American society, its abuse of power, homophobia and prejudice against the victims of the ongoing AIDS epidemic. While taking a highly subjective starting point in his practice, Wojnarowicz shared poetic, poignant stories that would acquire a universal dimension. The exhibition The Night Will Drive a Heart, largely inspired by David Wojnarowicz’s attitude, weaves a narrative that is intended to show the struggle with what the artist called “the pre-invented world.” The title of the exhibition, borrowed from a poem by Paul Celan, emphasises the show’s balance between hope, love and transgression. In many areas, these are the weapons used by artists to provoke, criticise, rebel or manifest beliefs and feelings. This exhibition is a portrait of a man who perceives art as a potential tool for changing the surrounding reality. He is aware of the need to break free from social oppression, recognise otherness and make room for any lifestyle. In a series of photographs entitled Arthur Rimbaud in New York, Wojnarowicz recalls the figure of the accursed poet – poète maudit. This motif and the reference to the French writer became a manifestation indicating that the artist’s role is to confront and expose the mechanisms of submission and conformism. Perhaps this is the only means to an effective artistic intervention into reality. Similarly, artistic attitudes undermining oppressive social norms, using subversive strategies, creating engaged and relational art are of key importance for the theme of the exhibition. On the other hand, the exhibition tries to show a possible alternative in the form of building a reality based on tolerance and interpersonal relations, without false borders.

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