Miroslaw Balka, ‘Table, Stool and Hole’, 1993, Dvir Gallery

In 1993, a fire in Miroslaw Balka’s studio singed a number of drawings. He elected to have the fragments framed, whose images—variously quotidian, erotic, and symbolic—are in turn framed by the graceful licks and burns wrought by the flames on the paper.

About Miroslaw Balka

Speaking about his sculptures, videos, and installations, Miroslaw Balka states: “I always try to create difficult questions instead of easy answers.” In his work, which is both hauntingly beautiful and deeply unsettling, he poses serious questions about history—specifically that of modern Europe—memory, truth, and perception. Balka uses traditional and unconventional materials in his work, including steel, wood, salt, soap, and felt. References to the history of his own country, and the destruction of its Jewish community during the Holocaust, figure prominently in his work: although Catholic, he has become known as a Holocaust artist. Balka’s video work Bambi (2003) exemplifies the affecting way in which he confronts viewers with the past. The video shows young deer foraging for food in a bleak, snowy landscape, which, as it turns out, is the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

Polish, b. 1958, Otwock, Poland, based in Otwock, Poland