At the time of the 16th edition of the Festival Letterario Isola delle Storie in Gavoi, Sardinia, the MAN is pleased to present Sweet of Sin, an exhibition by Miroslaw Balka. The exhibition is curated by Luigi Fassi.
This monographic exhibition features the work of the Polish artist Miroslaw Balka (Warsaw, 1958; currently living and working in Warsaw and Otwock), a leading name on today’s European and international art scene. In his 2004 sculpture entitled 250 x 280 x 120 (Sweets of Sin), Balka reflects upon James Joyce (1882‒1941), the revolutionary twentieth-century Irish author whom the Polish artist has studied in depth over the years, seeking out reasons for mutual artistic production and biographical similarities, such as both men’s cultural background marked by a strongly Catholic upbringing. Ever since the 1960s, numerous visual artists have been strongly drawn to Joyce, finding an innovative relationship between form and content in his work, as well as a stimulus to develop art with a strong moral commitment.
Balka centres his reflection on Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, a monumental and intricate account of events over the course of a single day ‒ 16 June 1904 ‒ when the paths of certain inhabitants of Dublin cross, developing a narrative constructed using internal monologue. The main character in the novel is Leopold Bloom, a middle-class Irish Jew with limited human and professional horizons, intent upon cheating on his wife Molly who has cheated on him in her turn. Bloom is countered by Stephen Dedalus, a learned, tormented and insecure history teacher. Balka’s work on display here takes its name from an erotic novel mentioned in Ulysses and called Sweets of Sin. Purchased by Bloom from a travelling salesman, the novel tells the story of a wife, a husband and a lover.