Olga Balema – Computer
Camden Art Centre will present the first solo UK institutional exhibition by New York-based artist Olga Balema (b. 1984 Ukraine), with a major new commission responding to the iconic architecture of Gallery 3. Balema’s work was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial alongside a critically acclaimed exhibition at Bridget Donahue Gallery, New York and has gained increasing visibility in the US and Europe over the past five years.
Balema’s practice is dynamic, inventive and constantly developing and her installations often engage very directly with the spaces that contain them, antagonising their boundaries and disorienting their coordinates. The new floor-based work plays with the idea of a flat sculpture. It unfolds from a series of pixelated images of a domestic carpet, laid out in a grid-like arrangement and printed on billboard material. A large sheet of plastic has been worked on by hand and foot, in the studio, outside and on the computer; as a whole, and in pieces. The work bears an accumulation of marks: hairs traced with a pencil, dirt, and the frottage of New York pavements and visitors to the gallery are invited to walk on top of the work, incorporating their footsteps with existing composition of marks.
The work comes out of the artist’s thinking around meaning as a function of lived time and aligns with a definition of art that is primarily concerned with communicating in terms of its integrity as a formal production. Balema’s sculptures are often unwieldy and aesthetically demanding, and challenge conventions of legibility within structures and mechanisms that accompany the making and consuming of exhibitions. Balema engages a set of protocols, or a specific combination of actions and gestures of making, that nevertheless connect the work with the world, society, history, place, time and art-making. Guided by an enthusiasm for the exploration of materials and gesture, and an inventive spirit, each new body of work sets its own rules and goals.