Davide Balula © 2014 Davide Balula
David 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.