Davide Balula harnesses all forms of natural matter (solid, liquid, gas, fire), as well as manmade structures and systems (architecture, virtual networks) to generate paintings, sculptures, photographs, performances, and site–specific interventions. He engages these forces to fuel contingent artistic gestures. In River Paintings, he literalizes the representation of landscape by submerging canvases in rivers and creeks to inundate them with water, soil, and algae. Buried Paintings retain stains and sediment from underground, while Artificially Aged Paintings are placed in climate chambers and subjected to humidity and extreme temperatures. Often the viewer is implicated: colors of the curved metal sculptures from the series Coloring the Wi-fi are transmitted to the screens of nearby smartphones and computers via open wi–fi networks.
Performance and collaboration also pervade Balula's art. In Endless Pace (Mechanical Clock for 60 Dancers), first staged at Performa 09 in New York in 2009, sixty dancers formed an enormous circle and interpreted the movements of a clock, marking the passage of time via human improvisation. In 2016, he created Mimed Sculptures, a performed presentation of canonical works of sculpture. Above empty plinths of various sizes, a group of mimes shapes the air with their hands, rebuilding iconic modernist sculptures by Louise Bourgeois, Alberto Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, David Smith, and Henry Moore, during the whole Art Basel Unlimited week.
Davide Balula was born in 1978 in Vila Dum Santo, Portugal. He received his DNAP in 2002 from the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg, France, and his DNSEP in 2004 from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris–Cergy, France. Recent solo exhibitions include “Low Fidelity,” Le Confort Moderne, France (2005); “L’Appareil : Un inventaire de la Collection, Nuit des Musées,” Musée d’Art Contemporain duVal de Marne, France (2006); “White Hey Mister Wave!,” SMP, Marseille (2007); “Sirène du Mississipi,” Musée de l'Objet, Blois & Ecole des Beaux Arts de Châteauroux & Bourges, France (2007); “Endless Pace,” Museums Quartier Wien, Vienna (2007); “Painting the Roof of your Mouth (Ice Cream),” Art Basel, Switzerland (2015); “La main dans le texte,” Prix Marcel Duchamp, FIAC, Paris (2015); and “Mimed Sculptures,” Art Basel Unlimited, Switzerland (2016). Balula’s work is held within notable public institutions such as, Centre Geroges Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Musée d'Art Contemporain du Val–de–Marne, Vitry–sur–Seine, France; Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Poitou–Charentes, France; and Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Provence–Alpes Côte d’Azur, France.
Balula currently lives and works in New York and France.
Plan Your Vote
Created in 2020, Plan Your Vote is an initiative of Vote.org that harnesses the power of the visual arts to promote and empower citizens to exercise their right to vote. The organization has collaborated with artists, including Davide Balula, Sally Mann, and Patti Smith, to create a public library of voting advocacy images, available for anyone to download and share, in order to help ensure everyone has a voting strategy and is vote ready. To check if you are registered to vote, or learn more about your voting rights, visit vote.org.
Artwork © Sally Mann
January 30–February 2, 2020, booth B25
Gagosian is pleased to participate in artgenève 2020, with modern and contemporary works by Davide Balula, Georg Baselitz, Helen Frankenthaler, Simon Hantaï, Damien Hirst, Grant Levy-Lucero, Henri Matisse, Olivier Mosset, Giuseppe Penone, Pablo Picasso, David Reed, Sterling Ruby, Spencer Sweeney, and Tom Wesselmann, among others.
Helen Frankenthaler, Omen, 1980 © 2020 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Mechanical Clock for 60 Musicians
Thursday, October 18, 2018, 10:30pm
Centre Pompidou, Paris
In Davide Balula’s Mechanical Clock for 60 Musicians (2018), visitors will walk through a gigantic “clock” made up of sixty orchestral performers. Passing from one room to the next, and one musician to another, the audience will experience the passing of time through sound as each minute casts its own sound wave. To attend the event, purchase tickets at centrepompidou.fr.
Davide Balula, Interrupting Words with Burp Sounds (Garlic Fed Brass Players), 2014 © Davide Balula. Photo: Zhenya Posternak
October 20, 2018–March 11, 2019
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Davide Balula presents an immersive installation in which children and parents experiment with space via physical movement and tactile, auditory, and visual sensations. 37.5 °C is the core temperature at which organs and their tissues function best, and this eponymous exhibition invites the public to awaken and better understand their inner mechanics.
Davide Balula, Intestine Mesh, 2018 © Davide Balula. Photo: A. Coiro
September 20, 2017–January 7, 2018
14th Biennale de Lyon, France
Curator Emma Lavigne, director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz, reinterprets the term modern, setting it in the context of a fluid and extended modernity. The Biennale explores the legacy and reach of the concept of the modern in today’s art. Work by Davide Balula, Alexander Calder, and Lucio Fontana is included.
Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio, 1963 © Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milano
Duet with Artist
Participation as an Artistic Principle
May 21–September 3, 2017
Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany
The role of the audience in the creative process of a work of art is at the center of this exhibition. Different forms of participation are offered, following directional structures evoking critical thought processes or generating collaboration with others. Work by Davide Balula, Yves Klein, Bruce Nauman, and Franz West is included.
Davide Balula, Mimed Sculptures, 2016
© Davide Balula