I feel guilty, says Pol­ish Shoah artist

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY ROBYNROSEN

A NON-JEWISH Pol­ish artist who has built the lat­est in­stal­la­tion in the Tate Mod­ern’s Tur­bine Hall, has spo­ken of the “guilt” he feels for Poland’s past.

How It Is, by Miroslaw Balka, is a huge steel sculp­ture, stand­ing 13m high, 10m wide and 30m long.

Rem­i­nis­cent of a gi­ant ship­ping con­tainer and mounted on sup­ports so that vis­i­tors can walk un­der­neath, some have sug­gested it is sim­i­lar to a gas cham­ber.

Mr Balka was born in War­saw in 1958. Much of his work ex­plores his per­sonal his­tory and the his­tory of Poland, in­clud­ing a fo­cus on the Holo­caust.

He said: “I never make the works about the Holo­caust in a di­rect way but the ex­pe­ri­ence of the coun­try projects on my work.

“I grew up without much knowl­edge of the Holo­caust. I only learnt about it re­gard­ing the Pol­ish peo­ple, not the Jewish peo­ple. I feel shame but now I know a lot about what hap­pened.

“I feel a lot of guilt for the past. In some of my work, es­pe­cially the videos, I’m try­ing to col­lect the traces. I’m a pil­grim who goes to Tre­blinka and Ma­j­danek and tries to do some­thing. It’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to re­mem­ber what took place.”

Miroslaw Balka in front of his Holo­caust art­work in the Tate Mod­ern

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