Reversed letter “B”

Mirosław Balka, one of the most profound contemporary Polish sculptors, has lent one of his installations to the Jewish Historical Institute.

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Mirosław Balka, one of the most profound contemporary Polish sculptors, has lent one of his installations to the Jewish Historical Institute. Its theme is a cropped letter “B” from the infamous slogan “Arbeit macht frei” from the Auschwitz gate.

The letter was filmed from the perspective of the camp. It is clearly visible that the upper bowl is wider than the lower one. The act of flipping “B” is a symbol of a prisoner’s resistance, who “confused” the bowls on purpose. In the background we can hear laughing voices of German youth visiting the camp.

We invite you to listen to the speech given by the artist about the installation and the exhibition where it is presented.


Mirosław Bałka (born in 1958 in Warsaw), a sculptor, drawer, experimental film maker, creator of monuments and spatial activities. A graduate of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, a member of Akademie der Künste in Berlin. He runs the Spatial Activities Studio at the Faculty of Media Art and Stage Design in the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 1986–1989 with Marek Kijewski and Miroslaw Filonik, he created an artistic group ‘Neue Bieriemiennost’. His works can be found in famous collections of contemporary art, such as Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York, Art Institute in Chicago, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, MOCA in Los Angeles, SFMOMA in San Francisco, Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Museu de Serralves in Porto, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and in Poland, among others, in Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, in Centre for Contemporary Art, in Zachęta Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, in the National Museum in Wrocław and Museum of Contemporary Art MOCAK in Cracow.

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