Magazine article Sculpture

Miroslaw Balka

Magazine article Sculpture

Miroslaw Balka

Article excerpt

Gladstone Gallery

Miroslaw Balka's 2 x (350 x 300 x 300), 36 x 36 x 29 / The Order of Things-a large-scale, welded sculp- ture of weathering steel-is an obverse rhomboid, split into two equal sections with darkened water pouring into each half. The sound emanating from the descent of this colored liquid as it flows into the two large vats is deafening at times. Viewers might wonder if the work was intended as a fountain, a site- specific installation, or possibly a monumental assisted readymade.

During its incarnation at the Glad- stone Gallery, The Order of Things was given its own space in a large parti- tioned area illuminated by a south- facing skylight. To enter, one had to pass through a small wooden door separating the reception area and offices from the space in which the work was housed. A single stool stood in front of the massive sculp- ture. The seat, too low for an adult, suggested the presence of a child. Might this child represent the artist's memory of himself? Could this mechanical steel structure relate to a traumatic incident he might have experienced while growing up in Poland? The personal reference only exists in the realm of speculation- that through this encounter, what- ever it might have been, the child was awe-struck.

The title of Balka's sculpture is also the name of an important philo- sophical work by Michel Foucault. The scholar's name, however, is strangely absent from the informa- tion provided in the press release; instead, one gets an encapsulated, unattributed summary "appropri- ated" from Foucault, stating that the ambiguity of language often impacts historical interpretation. …

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