This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
reviews MIROSLAW BALKA
MiroslAw BAlkA:
Kategorie, 2005 (installation view, Irish
Museum of Modern Art, dublin), colour threads
and rotors, tunnel from plaster board and
metal brackets, 208 x 221 x 600 cm. Photo:
tristes tropiques
denis Mortell Courtesy the artist and Jay
Jopling/White Cube, London
IRISh MuSeuM Of MOdeRn ARt, duBLIn
14 nOveM BeR – 27 JAnuARy
Members of the Calliphoridae family, known to their admirers as blowflies which presumably explains why the most pertinent aspect of his work
or bluebottles, like to lay their eggs on carrion, or indeed faeces, thereby always seems to be the material rather than the forms, which tend not just
offering emerging maggots a ready supply of vital nutrition. More towards dry and minimal, but meticulously desiccated.
importantly Calliphoridae enjoy a life cycle that progresses from egg to In several videoworks and some recent sculptures, live elements,
larvae to the mature individual by way of, every now and then, a stopover sound and even movement are included. Kategorie (2006), a corridor hung
in the realm of fine art, having enlivened work by Damien Hirst and also with five coloured pieces of thread, each suspended from its own slowly
played a formative role in the sentimental education of Cornelia Parker. rotating motor, has a twitchy force that is aided by the insubstantiality of
For Miroslaw Balka it has to be Calliphora vicina – see, there it is, the piece, while his Hanging Soap Woman (2000), with its collateral of used
right there in the description for the Polish artist’s 215 x 135 x 60 (2005): soap bars threaded on a long string hanging in a lazy curve, reignites a
‘steel, Calliphora vicina maggots’. What is not stipulated, but with which the sense of collectivity that recalls Christian Boltanski.
room housing the work – a pair of large circular receptacles inside of which Both pieces (along with several others in the show which make even
writhe several kilos of maggots – has been equipped, are a couple of heavy more pointed references) evoke the legacy of Balka’s homeland, and the
transparent plastic fly curtains (to prevent any escapees) and a glowing camps at Treblinka, decommissioned only ten years before the artist was
electric fly-killer (should a specimen make it through the plastic cordon). born. For all the specificity in these more recent works, however, their import
It’s a practical setup, as unavoidably chilling in its thoroughness as seems to broaden out. It is not simply that all of us, under the correct form of
it is apparent in its import. Balka is the epitome of an ‘ashes to ashes, dust pressure, whether that be waterboarding or the action of Calliphora vicina,
to dust’ kind of artist – and not just because he incorporates ashes (along are destined to become a chemical flour. It is also, and more importantly,
with rust and salt) into many of his sculptural pieces. Entering his IMMA that each human form is always under attack from something that tends to
retrospective is like entering a landscape of grey snow; colour is all but reduce, wear away or compress; and sometimes the reassuring inevitability
banished, as is glimmer, shine and any trace of humour. of that very force offers the welcome and only challenge to rationalised
The surfaces of things here are crumbling, caked or already powder. extermination. Luke Clancy
Balka draws a hard line around fluids, encases and traps them as much as
possible, pursuing not the forces that animate, but the materials left behind,
Artreview 126
FEB_REVIEWS.indd 126 2/1/08 13:55:51
Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com