Miroslaw Balka



Miroslaw Balka was born in Ottwock, Poland, near Warsaw, and continues to live and work in his childhood village, where he turned his family home into a studio. Much of his work deals with personal and collective memory. Seemingly bare and austere, with a sense of absence and empty space, his work is defined by the human presence that experiences and completes it. One becomes aware of the empty spaces between and under Balka's things, and his often elegiac sculptures call out for the human body.

Originally conceived in 2004, HEAL is a stainless steel structure in the form of a word. It stands at an angle, on a large concrete square which is aligned but not quite in sync with the adjacent paving. Looking up at the austere structure, the word is in reverse and unintelligible, but looking down, the shadow of the word is projected on the pavement below, moving and changing throughout the day with the path of the sun. The stainless steel is precisely fabricated, rectangular, hard and impersonal, but on one of its supports is a small, curved sculptural basin where a valve can be pushed and a small spout of water provides a cool drink. The intimacy and sustenance of this act of drinking is in stark contrast with the surroundings. This may be like the contrast a person feels when walking among the massive buildings at Mission Bay, all of which are devoted in one way or another to the goal of healing the human body.