2nd part of series "Miroslaw Balka" 4 x 3 min.
TX: Channel 4 7:55pm Monday 15th - Thursday 18th March 2010

This series, by James Price for Tate Media and Channel 4's 3 Minute Wonder strand, is a portrait of polish artist Miroslaw Balka, whose work "How It Is" filled the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern from October 2009 until April 2010.

Commissioned as part of the Unilever Series, Balka’s enormous steel structure, reminiscent of industrial architecture, stood some 30 meters long and 15 meters high, creating a monumental void within the space. On entering the visitor will, as Balka puts it, ‘touch darkness’ – an experience that he likens to disappearing.

In making the films Price visited Balka at his studio in the town of Otwock – just outside the Polish capital of Warsaw – in the house where the artist grew up, and where his octogenarian father still lives next door. The place, like his work, is full of historical traces, of objects worn through human touch and infused with the passage of time. And yet the work is far from nostalgic. Otwock, like many Polish towns, has a tragic past: it was the site of a Jewish ghetto during World War II. Balka explains how he feels responsible for keeping this history vivid by presenting us with an experiential metaphor for the ultimate moment of disappearance.

In this programme, Balka show us the influence of history on his work. Born into a male line of gravestone masons, Balka feels he is carrying on the family tradition - the preservation of private and collective memory.

© Tate Media 2010
Directed & Filmed by James Price
Produced by Kate Vogel
Edited by Marie Söderpalm

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