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Madrid: Bałka

April 11, 2014 - April 12, 2014

Contemporary Art in Poland: Beyond East and West

Flux and Permanence


The transformations in Europe over the past three decades challenge – through their complexity and diversity – national historical/critical narratives, as well as those based on apparent global continuity. Poland, like Spain and practically the continent’s territories in their entirety, has undergone a profound relocation in the world, along with a swift dislocation and reinvention of lifestyles, values and marks of identity; art practices have fervently participated in these transformations by strengthening and questioning them and imagining alternatives. Nevertheless, forgetting recent history and erasing traces of past experience would represent a false way out that would hinder understanding and ways of addressing difficulties and contradictions in the present. Art, in Poland and the rest of Europe, has played, and still plays, an important role in this regard.

The exhibition from the Grażyna Kulczyk collection, Everybody is Nobody for Somebody, organised by the Banco de Santander Foundation and curated by Timothy Persons, provides us with a privileged opportunity to reflect upon these questions by virtue of three core ideas: the inheritance of “conceptual arts” from the 1970s, feminist practices and the activation of individual and collective memory. For this purpose, the historian, critic and curator Anda Rottenberg and the artist Miroslaw Balka will be present to converse with the critic and theorist Fernando Castro.

The conversation will be concluded with a visit to the exhibition, presented by its curator.



11 April – 7:00 p.m. Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200


Conversation between Miroslaw Balka, Fernando Castro Flórez, Timothy Persons and Anda Rottenberg


12 April – 12:00 noon


Visit to the exhibition Everybody is Nobody for Somebody, in the Exhibition Room at the Ciudad Grupo Santander, Boadilla del Monte (Madrid).



Miroslaw Balka is one of the most widely renowned contemporary Polish artists. His output focuses on sculpture, installation and video, mediums through which he explores themes such as the body, memory and history. His work is also represented in collections from the most pre-eminent museums in the world, including the Museo Reina Sofía.


Fernando Castro Flórez is a lecturer of Aesthetics and Art Theory at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and in the Master’s course in Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture at the Museo Reina Sofía, UAM and the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). He is also an exhibition curator and art critic, writes for ABC Cultural and edits the magazine Cuadernos del IVAM.


Timothy Persons is a lecturer and director of the Programme of Professional Studies at the Aalto University School of Art and Design, in Helsinki. He is also an exhibition curator and member of advisory councils at the Borås Museum of Modern Art, Kulturhuset, in Stockholm, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Helsinki.


Anda Rottenberg is an art historian, critic and curator. Founder of the EGIT Art Foundation, she has been director of the National Gallery of Art, in Warsaw, and has curated the Polish art section at numerous Biennials and international exhibitions. She is also a member of the International Association of Art Critics, the International Manifesta Foundation and the Germinations Foundation.