2023-05-23 - 2023-08-31


Mirosław Bałka's SEMPER FRAGMENTUM exhibition at the Starmach Gallery is the artist's second exhibition in the same gallery space after twenty years.

SEMPER FRAGMENTUM is dedicated to the place. The building of the Starmach Gallery located at ul. Wegierska 5 in Krakow's Podgórze district. The building of the gallery is a historic Zucher's House of Prayer, built in 1879-1881, with a brick façade in the style of Rundbogenstil. The structure of the building is marked by the division into the main hall, the side hall and separate spaces for men and women, and above all ARON HA-KODESH (HOLY ARK) - a niche in which the Torah scrolls were stored, located at the eastern wall of the main prayer hall in accordance with the European custom. This particular element in the building of the GALLERY/HOUSE OF PRAYER is a memento of an ancient chest called the Ark of the Covenant (Aron ha-Brit). In biblical times, the Israelites kept in it two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments, called the Tables of the Covenant.

The context of the Hasidic House of Prayer of the Podgórze district - the area of the former Jewish ghetto - is of great importance, because Mirosław Bałka always "listens" to the architecture of the place where he exhibits his works.

SEMPER FRAGMENTUM means ALWAYS FRAGMENT in Latin. The exhibition at the Starmach Gallery is, after the Berlin exhibition FRAGMENT at the Akademie der Künste (October 28, 2011 - January 8, 2012), in the form of a retrospective look at Bałka's video works created at different times and exhibited in various places, another exhibition that is an extended reminiscence works of various genres, created at different stages of his career.

SEMPER FRAGMENTUM is a retrospective reaching from the early works on paper from the 1990s to the current six video projections with Tomasz Stańko playing the trumpet to penguin-shaped litter bins in the Vistula forest, created in 2004 ("Walking/Waking Up 1 , 2004, video DVD, 13 seconds loop, "Walking/Waking Up 2", 2004, video DVD, 18 seconds loop, "Walking/Waking Up 3", 2004, video DVD, 34 seconds loop, "Walking /Waking Up 4", 2004, video DVD, 19 seconds loop, "Walking/Waking Up 5", 2004, video DVD, 35 seconds loop, "Walking/Waking Up 6", 2004, video DVD, 35 seconds loop) and enriched with new works, created with the gallery itself in mind.

For the first time we will see a new sculpture, 210 cm high, composed of six concrete trylines (trylinek is named after its inventor Władysław Tryliński, patented in 1933 and produced, among others, by the Quarries of Małopolska Towns, operating during the occupation as Steinbrueche der Galizischen Staedte GMBH), stacked on top of each other on a steel base, resembling, but only in form, the endless columns created by Constantin Brâncuși and six yellow gas-filled neon signs: SPATHIPHYLLUM, SANSEVIERIA, CHLOROPHYTUM, POLYPODIUM, FICUS, 766.

Five of them refer to the Latin names of plants that are characterized by air-filtering properties. The last one - 766 - brings to mind the number of Jewish Houses of Prayer that were located in Poland until 1939.

The multithreaded SEMPER FRAGMENTUM in the Starmach Gallery is not the result of a direct "reaction" to one of the problems. It is another installment of Mirosław Bałka's creative attitude towards what used to happen and what happened. The local, Krakow context is important in it.
As in the case of each of his exhibitions, it is the result of an analysis of the history and space of the place itself, an attempt to document certain situations from the past and touch on both difficult and difficult memories.

The exhibition will be accompanied by the exhibition catalogue, containing a text by Anda Rottenberg, a conversation between Andrzej Szczepaniak and the artist, and illustrative material.