Miroslav Bałka: Winterhilfsverein, 1994

Miroslav Bałka

1958, Warsaw, Poland


Winterhilfsverein, 1994
steel, chalk, animal glue, linoleum, felt, plaster, light bulb


In various civilizations, the overcoming of fear implies crossing the threshold of something, going through an initiation rite. The threshold is an element that frequently appears in the Bałka’s work. It denotes the transition between various spaces and contexts, between territories that Bałka discovers with his body, which serves him as a kind of map. His works are autobiographical and, in a certain way, anthropomorphic. They are imbued within his recollections and made after the actual size of his body. Living in a society of historical constructs, he clings to his emotive memory, to everything his body can register through all its senses.


In terms of classical iconography, Winterhilfsverein - as indeed are the majority of his works’ is a kind of self-portrait. It reveals his physiognomy (the dimensions of all the structures corresponding to the dimensions of his body), discloses his intimate world and work environments (the threshold is actually made from a piece of linoleum used as a floor-covering in his studio before it burnt down), and through this Bałka relates his feelings and reflections, his emplacement in the world.

online exhibition