Selection

01 | Bloc

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND) | 20 x 4 x 8 M | JULY 2012
PAPER PULP / WOOD / TILES / SPOTLIGHT

A slide, sandbox, swing, spring bouncer, seesaw, roundabout and a bench: seven modules – reproduced to scale and arranged in a 160-square-meter area – represent the standard inventory of a German playground.  The objects – typically bright-colored, are coated here with soot-blackened pulp, and the dull, porous surfaces conjure up images of the ash-rain from a volcanic eruption or the charred remains of a fire.  A gritty sound installation reinforces the unsettling atmosphere, and the playground appears abandoned, frozen in time.  Four spotlights bathe the area in a harsh light, which casts hard-edged shadows and mercilessly illuminates every corner.  While on real playgrounds sandy surfaces reduce the risk of injury, the toys here rest on hard, aseptically shiny tiled flooring that conjures up associations with a slaughterhouse or hospital; the playground mutates into a laboratory, the children into unwilling participants in a brutal experiment.  The surrounding chain-link fence creates a cage rather than a shelter; there is no entrance, thus causing the viewer to assume the role of an outside observer and supervisor.  The simplified forms and intentional inaccuracies illustrate the model character of the work.  Less a place of play than of surveillance and struggle, Balve’s “Bloc” is reminiscent of a prison yard (in French slang the word “bloc” means “prison” or “bunker”) or a boxing ring.  The playground appears as a metaphor for human existence and action in society – as a heterotopia, as elaborated by Michel Foucault: a separate “counter-space” that functions according to its own rules, and thus represents social relations in a particular way.

02 | Fragment

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND / VIDEO / PHOTOGRAPHY) | 8 x 2 x 4 M | OCTOBER 2012
PAPER PULP / WOOD / TILES / METAL / LIGHT BOXES / SCREENS

“Fragment” explores the theme of memory.  Formally, the accessible installation is a new structure created out of remnants left over from a room‘s reconstruction that Balve then arranged based on personal memories.  The fragments are reconstructed as a sequence of three rooms that have lost their original coherence.  The number of coordinates lessens from room to room, like a fading memory that is increasingly fragmented, until it is finally reduced to a few disjointed images.  The combination of sculptural elements, moving video images, photographs and disturbing sounds resembles the multimedia character of memories that can include pictorial elements, movie-like scenes, sounds, and especially feelings.  Photographs and videos serve a key function here, referring to earlier events in these spaces.  They show a female and a male protagonist in the original space.  Only vaguely recognizable, the figures are in ambiguous situations: spookily and in slow motion, the woman moves on all fours across the dirty floor, and a gigantic man seems to disappear with his head in the ceiling of the dark room.  The surreal, nightmarish images suggest sinister associations with individual fears and violent scenarios.  Although the viewer may attempt to construct a coherent story, or at least relationships between the portrayed scenes, their significance ultimately remains mysterious.  This also applies to the objects, seemingly randomly left behind, distributed in the space.  Bottles, cables and dirty dishes are visible in parts of the photographs.  Who could have used these things; what happened here? The place seems charged with the energy of past events, which are sensed or imagined by the observer and perhaps even interwoven with his or her memories.  An unsettling feeling arises, an irritation, like the aftermath of a nightmare.  The represented decay and anonymous bodies with their blurred faces give the work a metaphorical dimension: The dilapidated derelict house becomes a symbol for the human psyche, for the uncontrollable processes of our memory.

03 | The Hide

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND / VIDEO) | 8 x 3.5 x 2.45 M | JUNE 2011
METAL / WOOD / 30 TELEVISIONS / MANNEQUIN 180 x 60 CM | VIDEO 106 MINUTES

The work is a large-scale media installation composed of two sculptural elements, one of which is a free-floating barrel consisting of 30 equal-sized TVs.  These are linearly arranged in groups of three around the barrel, like the windows of a slot machine.  Displayed are rotating gambling symbols (lemon, melon, the number 7, etc.) and staccato light passages.  The wheel is 2 x 2 meters.  The second element is a doll, situated in a corner on the floor.  Its color matches that of the wheel.  The doll is 1.80 x 0.60 meters.  The sculptures and statues are accompanied by a sound installation.  This sound collage consists of gaming operation sounds from casinos.  The subject of gambling is the starting point for the sound installation.  The theme of the art class exhibition is Native Americans.  Frank Balve explores the aspect of gambling and its effect on operators and visitors (addiction).  An additional topic he addresses is the veneer of society and diversion of historical facts.

04 | Erster Gesang

INSTALLATION (PAINTING) | OCTOBER 2011
42 CANVAS | 15 x 2.8 x 4 M

05 | Zweiter Gesang

PAINTING | PAINT 2 x 3.65 CM | GATE 3.5 x 3.8 CM | JUNE 2012
ACRYLIC PAINT AND HOUSEHOLD PAINT ON CANVAS / WOOD / PAPER PULP

Dante Alighieri’s epic poem Commedia, begun in ca.  1307, serves as the framework for Frank Balve’s installation “23-29.06.  (Second Song) 2012”.  In Zweiter Gesang, the poet begins his journey into the underworld; yet he hesitates before he passes through the Gates of Hell and confronts the suffering souls in Purgatory.  The Divine Comedy resonates only indirectly to the installation by, serving, rather, as the catalyst for the exploration of the material.  A frame construction seals off the area above and lends the work an architectural character.  It resembles the soffit of a portal and refers to another art historical point of reference: Auguste Rodin‘s “Gates of Hell” from 1877 to 1917, a monumental bronze sculpture, which shares an affiliation with Dante‘s description of hell, purgatory and paradise.  While Rodin represents human suffering figuratively, Balve translates the theme into an abstraction.  The canvas is covered with a dense, structure of color splatters, streaks and drips, and we can only vaguely imagine the original dark back-ground.  Although dominated by a dull and gloomy impression, in its complexity the lush paint appears intoxicating, almost orgiastic.  The choreography of colors is not based on a conventional iconography, but on a symbolism that the observer must ultimately approach intuitively, despite the fact that it suggests associations – with its transition from skin tones and light to cool dark hues – with the theme of the Gates of Hell passage.  The numerous layers of paint overlap like sedimentary layers.  In the horizontal and vertical gradients, the temporality of the creative process becomes comprehensible, and, especially in the flesh-colored areas, the color breaks up and reveals the underlying layers.  Even the title places the installation in time by listing both the space of production time, as well as the birth and death days of Frank Balve‘s teacher, Norbert Prangenberg, to whom the work is dedicated.

06 | Day Lecture

PAINTING | 170 x 130 CM | FEBRUARY 2013
ACRYLIC PAINT AND HOUSEHOLD PAINT ON CANVAS

07 | Moral

MALEREI | 80 x 125 CM | MÄRZ 2012
ACRYL UND WANDFARBE AUF LEINWAND

08 | Night Lecture

PAINTING | 170 x 130 CM | FEBRUARY 2013
ACRYLIC PAINT AND HOUSEHOLD PAINT ON CANVAS

09 | Hesperiden 3

PAINTING | 4 x 2.47 M | MAY 2011
ACRYLIC PAINT AND HOUSEHOLD PAINT ON CANVAS

10 | Passage 4

PAINTING | 140 x 400 CM | AUGUST 2012
ACRYLIC PAINT AND HOUSEHOLD PAINT ON CANVAS

11 | Lesung 1

PAINTING | 80 x 125 CM | JANUARY 2013
ACRYLIC PAINT AND HOUSEHOLD PAINT ON CANVAS

12 | Passage 3

PAINTING | 1.4 x 3 M | AUGUST 2012
ACRYLIC PAINT AND HOUSEHOLD PAINT ON CANVAS

13 | Passage 2 (De Sade)

PAINTING | 1.4 x 2 M | AUGUST 2012
ACRYLIC PAINT AND HOUSEHOLD PAINT ON CANVAS

14 | Raub der Töchter

PAINTING | 160 x 28 CM | APRIL 2011
ACRYLIC PAINT AND HOUSEHOLD PAINT ON CANVAS

15 | Seraph

INSTALLATION (PLASTIC) | 13 x 4 M | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011
WOOD / TILES / HOUSEHOLD PAINT / METAL

16 | Geliebte 1

PAPER PULP PLASTIC | 84 x 104 x 74 CM | FEBRUARY 2012

17 | Geliebte 2

PAPER PULP PLASTIC | 84 x 104 x 74 CM | OCTOBER 2012

18 | Geliebte 3

PAPER PULP PLASTIC | 84 x 104 x 74 CM | APRIL 2013

19 | Einkaufswagen

PAPER PULP PLASTIC | 0,98 x 109 x 0,6 M | JANUARY 2013

20 | Suchende Anfang

PAPER PULP PLASTIC | CA. 40 CM HEIGHT | MAY 2012

21 | Suchende Mitte

PAPER PULP PLASTIC | CA. 40 CM HEIGHT | MAY 2012

22 | Suchende Ende

PAPER PULP PLASTIC | CA. 40 CM HEIGHT | MAY 2012

23 | Lustitias Tanz

PHOTOGRAPHY C-PRINT | 66 x 100 CM | DECEMBER 2010

24 | Die Menge

WORKING CLASS | PHOTOGRAPHY C-PRINT | 2.63 x 2 M | DECEMBER 2011

Frank Balve’s photographic series “Die Menge / Working Class” plays with the classic metaphor of two bodies merging, but here the romantic love associated with this image seems only to be a traditional ideal.  The sepia-toned, 2.63 x 2.00-meter images depict a dark background with two naked torsos, which are similar in form and stance.  At first glance, the images appear to be reflections, but this impression is false.  The figures merge and their outlines converge in some places, while in others the contours of the bodies blur and become abstract forms.  Equally uncertain is the sex of the subjects: heads and genitals are not visible, the skin is shaved down to the pubic area and, with few exceptions, the forms are androgynous.  Technically speaking, the images are montages of body parts of different individuals that the artist combines as collages on the computer and then edits.  Resulting from uncertainty, the ghostly character of the images is reminiscent of the medium‘s early days, such as those of spiritualist photography or early radiographs.  Associations with medical images are also possible, like those of emaciated patients or Siamese twins.  However, the fashionable piercings and tattoos permit the conclusion that the individuals portrayed strive to represent a contemporary ideal of beauty.  They appear as followers of a narcissistic body cult that negates both gender and individuality.

25 | Ohne Titel

PHOTOGRAPHY C-PRINT | 210 x 297 CM | NOVEMBER 2010

26 | Inside Out

VIDEO-PERFORMANCE | VIDEO – 84 MINUTES | OCTOBER 2011

27 | Meta

VIDEO-PERFORMANCE / PLASTIC | VIDEO – 5 MINUTES ENDLESS LOOP | NOVEMBER 2011

28 | 48/24

VIDEO-PERFORMANCE | 48 HOURS TIME ACCELERATING | FEBRUARY 2010

29 | Lightcatcher

THREECHANNEL-TRIPTYCH-VIDEOINSTALLATION | VIDEO ‹1 MINUTE | APRIL 2010
3 TELEVISIONS / 3 DVD-PLAYERS

30 | Timber La Ruine

VIDEO | 7.56 MINUTES | AUGUST 2010

31 | Work and Progress

2 DAYS PERFORMANCE | WALL WITH DISPLAY-WINDOW | FEBRUARY 2011
WOOD / GLASS