Installation

Frank Balve constructs spaces, rooms of experience that manifest themselves in complex, multi-layered structures. His installations are rooted in the critical analysis of literary models, our consumption- and media-obsessed society, as well as the presence of often tangible and superordinate control and power mechanisms. In combination with his own autobiographical fragments, these elements combine with the subjective memory values of the viewer and the surrounding space, creating an overall picture. The installations thereby become a (mostly) accessible and tangible psychological profile. Suddenly one is standing in front of a fence, looking furtively into a mixture of an experimental design and a playground, which seems to be a cross between something out of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro’s “The City of Lost Children”. The installation “bloc” (2012) locks out the viewer and leaves him in the dark, beyond the glaring lights, transforming him into the secret observer of a nightmarish scenario. This voyeuristic moment, coupled with a seemingly familiar situation that, however, is rooted in a new context, is typical of many of Frank Balve’s installations. Various elements and symbols, such as flickering television or surveillance monitors, dark wood constructions and tiles appear repeatedly. The room-sized media installation “The Hide” (2011) is a mixture of barrels and slot machines and towers monumentally over the viewer. Recorded in a casino, the sound collage accompanies the viewer, who stands like a Lilliputian under the tirelessly rotating monitors, waiting in vain for them to stop and reveal some kind of association between the parts. Even in “1. Gesang” (First Song) (2011), a hybrid out of a mural and installation based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, Frank Balve once again employs numerous monitors. The first room shows an abstract and picturesque surface consisting of a series of canvases on which, in a performance-like act, the artist applied paint in a vigorous, controlled and deliberate manner. In the second room, an audiovisual installation comprised of 30 monitors arranged on the floor, completes the imaginary journey on the river in the underworld. The symbolism attached to the aforementioned tiles, which appear repeatedly in Balve’s work, varies from one extreme to the other: the clean white tiles are reminiscent of sterile clinical spaces, while the dirty, stained, worn and cracked tiles reveal the marks of time and the story they tell. The artist increasingly employs larger objects, which consist of a multi-layered paper-coral structure developed by the artist and which, in the fragility of the material, only suggest a structural safety. Sculpture, photography, video and painting usually merge inseparably in Balve’s installations. The combination of visual and acoustical stimuli, which create a “perception radius” for the observer, always play a significant role. While the sounds – consisting of extremely slow playing acoustical elements – come from the off and embed the installation with an auditory backbone, the lighting draws the viewer’s attention to certain things and obscures others again. The play of light and shadow, lines and areas, as well as different surfaces, repeatedly create intentional voids. Balve understands the majority of his installations (i.e. “bloc”). to be autonomous projects. In his installations, however, surreal and dreamlike video cross fades also may allude to earlier ‘event’ elements (i.e. “Fragment”), or to things which once have or could have occurred in the given space thereby incorporating the element of time into the work. The real time of the viewer in the installation is juxtaposed with an abstract level, in which time could stand still or expand uncontrollably. Balve’s installations have a huge physical presence. They are not interactive in a practical sense. The viewer does not directly enter them, but establishes a relationship with the seemingly abandoned spaces where traces of times past are still legible. The viewer embarks on a balancing act between the pure consumption of what is seen and his or her feelings of irritation and anxiety. The sensation that, at any second, this balance could tip reminds us that we should scrutinize the deceptively beautiful appearance of so many things more often. Anna Wondrak

 

 

anhöhe

INSTALLATION (RAUM ) | WOOD / METALL / FABRIC | SEPTEMBER  2017 |

In Berlin, at the end of the Kieler Strasse, there is a watchtower of the former border area, which is now used as a memorial. This is where the Kieler Eck management office once stood. It is one of the only three preserved of the 302 watchtowers, which were used for German-German border security. Frank Balve draws a parallel to this urban element of the capital with his new work Anhöhe. It is an installation that presents the program of the MaxWeberSixFriedrich gallery at the “Positions” art fair in Berlin.

The word Anhöhe (hill) is according to the Duden “a moderately high elevation in the terrain”; a hill, something that occurs in nature. The title stems from a text that Balve wrote in 2012 and which is printed on banners on the facade. Text transforms in an idea which becomes a thought complex which becomes art; something that often happens with the works of the Munich-based artist. The term Anhöhe in itself arouses very different associations than the massive construct – it measures 7 meters in height and width and 4 meters in depth – which stands before us at the fair: not only wrapped in the deep-black fabric and Nato-barbed wire at its crown. It develops a truly martial appearance, complemented by persons as staffage figures, whose association to the tower can be seen through their black clothes. They surround the tower, guard it, and accompany it, change it and are its extension. The artist correctly plays with the fears and inhibitions of the visitor: Is it really possible to approach and enter? The gloomy tones as well as the disturbing effect are typical characteristics of Balves works, described by Dr. Susanne Ott in her biography of the artist, which are clearly visible here.
You may be reminded of the Tower (1987-89) by Erwin Heerich which, as a “walkable sculpture”, focuses on the relationship between sculpture and architecture.
Unlike Balve’s earlier works, which began in the class of ceramics and glass painting from Norbert Prangenberg at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in 2009, the viewer is not condemned to remain outside and peer inside through a glass pane or fence. Here, art itself becomes a place of art, for it is an exhibition space that is accessible and experienceable.
On the ground floor of the tower you can find the contemporary program of the MaxWeberSixFriedrich gallery. The inner spaces are greatly reduced to emphasize the art presentation; white embolden the space created by Balve in the consciousness of the visitor, since the visitor’s attention is drawn to the works and not to the architecture. Thus, a kind of stage is provided, which reminds of a well-protected chamber for art and wonders.
Anhöhe is, as the name already suggests, widely visible in the exhibition hall, and also regularly attracts the attention of visitors with the mist horn built into it. It attracts and deters at the same time. Defense tower, memorial, treasury, or even spiritual rest room?
These may be all concepts suitable for Anhöhe and at the same time not. But the work of Frank Balve must and cannot be categorized. It is a development from older works, which have involved innumerable new ideas, which cannot be described with simple categorizing.

 

 

anlage | kabine III

INSTALLATION (ROOM ) | WOOD / PAPER CELLULAR / FENCE | FEBRUARY  2017 |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

menschenleer

gerippe| WOOD / ACRYLIC / ASCHEPIGMENT | 113 x 660 x 233 CM |
ring 3 | VIDEO | 14 MIN LOOP | WOOD BOX 97 x 59 x 17 CM | 2016 |
untitled | PAPER CLEANING ON CANVAS | 80 x 100 CM | 2016 |

 

Photography: Felix Hörhager

There is an object in the people’s center, which bears the title skeletal (boat) and quotes the form of a wooden rescue boat from the early 20th century. The clear contours are broken by the “chaos” of the glossy white tile mosaic – a material that has a firm place in Balve’s œuvre. The crossbars of the benches are so close together that no one can sit on them. They form a clean grid, which gives slits here and there.

The bow points towards the wall. Here are 18 white canvases without title (wind). Their symmetrical arrangement creates a feverish tension with the arbitrarily attached tile mosaic of the “boat”. Where a romantic glimmer of hope or a clarification of the situation on the horizon would be expected, a few empties of absolute emptiness spread over the canvases. The white images exude a calm, comforting fascination and have left the realization of the failure of Caspar David Friedrichs ice.

The scenery is dominated by a noise whose source is the video installation ring 3. In the continuous loop, a foamy and almost slimy spray of combs is presented, which greedily flush the beach. Due to the altered sound of the sea, nature plays an irritating taste, since the unity of what is seen and heard is blown.

 

 

extraktion

INSTALLATION (ROOM)  | WALL  ( WOOD / 8,80 X 7,00 M )  |  RAMP  ( WOOD / 6,50 X 1,50  M )  |  CELLAR ROOM ( WOOD / 8,80 X 1,50 M)  |  WOOD / STEEL / RUG / GLASS / PAPER / TILES / ASH / CEMENT |  JUNE 2011 |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

timber la ruine

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND / VIDEO ) | CEMENT / WOOD / ASH / MONITORS |  AUGUST 2010 | JULY 2014 |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography: Dirk Bruniecki

 

 

 

 

box

INSTALLATION (ROOM) | WOOD / PAPER CELLULAR / ASH / RUG | DECEMBER 2013 |

 

 

 

 

cluster

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND) | OCTOBER 2013

The installation consists of 63 walk-in, architectonic constructions reminiscent of rooms and open to the top. All elements are painted white. A wide board symbolizes a table and a somewhat narrower, a bench that invites to sit. Only a tiny spotlight directed at the table illuminates the room. The cabins recall cells, not only because of their sparse equipment, but also because of their arrangement, in cells: in several, long rows, they are uniformly juxtaposed. Nothing distinguishes them; Only the door-like openings point in different directions: sometimes they are opposite, sometimes they point in one direction, sometimes in the other direction. Balve uses the contrast between the strict, simple construction of the cells and the historical architecture of the gallery, creating a special tension.

 

 

 

 

kabine 2

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND) | PAPER CELLULAR / WOOD / CLOTHING (FABRICS) / LAMPS / FLAMMENRUSS HOUSE 2,5 x 6 M | JULY 2013

 

 

 

 

park

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND) | 480 SQ M | APRIL 2013

 

 

 

fragment

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

 

 

With “Fragment” Frank Balve takes up the theme of the memory for the first time. Formally, the walk-in installation is a new construction of parts of the destroyed re-construction of a space that Balve had created following personal memories. The fragments were reassembled into a sequence of three rooms, losing their original coherence. From room to room, the number of coordinates decreases, like a fading reminder, which becomes increasingly fragmentary until finally it reduces to a few unrelated images. The combination of plastic elements, moving video ads, photographs and disturbing sounds resembles the multimedial character of memories, which can include pictorial elements, film-like scenes, sounds and above all emotions. A key function is the photographs and videos that refer to previous events in these rooms. They show a female and a male protagonist in the still intact setting. The surreal, nightmare images suggest gloomy associations of individual fears and tendencies of violence.

The place appears loaded with the energies of past events, which are modeled or imagined by the viewer, perhaps also interwoven with their own memories. A disturbing feeling arises, an irritation similar to the aftermath of a nightmare. The depraved depravity and the identityless bodies with their blurred faces also give the work a metaphorical dimension: the neglected demolition house becomes a symbol for the human psyche, for the uncontrollable processes of our memory.

 

 

bloc

| INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND) | PAPER CELL / WOOD / FLAT / RADIATOR 20 X 8 X 4 M | JULY 2012 |

 

 

A typical German playground: slide, double rocker, swing, sandbox, spring bobbin and carousel, next to the seat for the supervisor. But here there is no cheerful childhood laughter, the place seems to be abandoned, frozen, dead. Usually the toys of the “Bloc” are covered with black pulp. Their dull, porous surfaces evoke associations with the ash eruption of a volcanic eruption, fossil bones or dead corals. A subtle sound installation that fills the room with surreal-abstract sounds enhances the disturbing atmosphere.
“Bloc” focuses on the playground as a place of social interaction. The seven modules form the standardized inventory of a public children’s playground on a 160 square meter large scale. TÜV-tested and designed by pedagogues, the standard equipment children offer a clearly defined and limited space for the game. In such a place, the emphasis is not on letting goings in the foreground, in which social behavior is trained, first conflicts are carried out and relationships are tested – always under the watchful eye of the authority persons on the bank, who are always ready to intervene.

Four high headlights standing outside the ground plunge the place into a glaring light that throws hard shadows. Through the merciless illumination of each angle, an unpleasant observation situation is created in which also the implicit guardian of the children on the bench becomes the observed one. A black wire fence surrounds the playground and forms a shelter and cage. There is no entrance, the observer has to remain “outside” and take the role of an observer / voyeur; He is, as it were, pushed to the wall by the space-grabbing work. Through the bright lighting and the fencing, the atmosphere shifts from one place of the game to one of the place of institutionalized surveillance and combat, such as a prison camp (bloc stands in the French colloquial language for “jail”, “bunker”), a boxing ring Or a sports stadium.
Although “Bloc” appears to be easy to read due to the reduced, clear language of form, the new design is gradually becoming more and more new. While sandballs or soft rubber mats are supposed to reduce the risk of injury on real playgrounds, the “Bloc” toys are placed on a hard, white tile floor. The easy-to-clean, aseptically shining background evokes associations with a slaughterhouse or hospital – the playground mutates into the laboratory, the children become involuntary participants in a brutal experiment. William Golding’s novel “Lord of the Flies” (1954) portrays an group of children who are stranded on an island in their increasingly barbaric behavior, thus addressing the innate violence of man.

The historical hall, which forms the spatial background of the work, also plays a role in the recipe process. The valuable tapestries, which in the 1730s in the manufactory of the French king Louis XV. According to Raphael’s frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican, and found their way into the academy as state gifts, represent the power of the rulers as well as the importance of the Old Master. The installation relativizes the impressive size of the auditorium and resists its sumptuous furnishings with color and formal rigor. The venerable hall is demolished as a backdrop. On the other hand, the windowless room with its large-area wall hangings is characterized by a museum atmosphere, which easily tipped into the Stickige and Dustere and thus underlines the oppressive mood of the “Bloc”.
By deliberately accepted inaccuracies in the reproductions, Frank Balve illustrates the modelability of his work. The playground becomes a metaphor for human being and action in society. Balve presents him as a heterotopism in the sense of Michel Foucault, as a different “counter space”, which forms a world for itself, functions according to its own laws and thus represents social conditions in a particular way.

 

120

INSTALLATION (LIGHT / VIDEO / ROOM / SOUND) | PAINTING / PAPER PLASTICS / PAPER / WOOD / ACRYLIC / WALL / FLAT / FABRIC / BAROCK FURNITURE / CARPET / WINDOW | MAY 2012 |

Frank Balves’ highly complex work revolves around often uncomfortable issues of social and ethical relevance. In elaborate room installations he combines non-representational painting, video installations, paper sculptures, lyricism and sound collages into multimedial concepts of museal dimensions. He often refers to works of classical panel painting or literature, and plays sovereignly on overgrown genera.
Surveillance, voyeurism, media consumption, institutionalized violence: “120” is based on the novel “The Hundred Twenty Days of Sodom or the School of Debauchery” by the Marquis de Sade (1785), one of the most controversial works of world literary literature, due to the cool depiction of sexual perversion . Balve, on the other hand, focuses on the most overlooked social critique of the text which denounces the institutionalized control and discipline of the “others” by the rulers.
While the first exhibition space is designed as a representative baroque interior with the classical pictorial arts of painting and sculpture, a darkened and tiled back room evokes associations with a slaughter house or prison. In the corners are three video projections of naked, crouching bodies with black hoods to be seen – a pose that calls in the collective memory stored images of torture victims from prison camps. To the sounds of a deconstructed Chopin, the life-size body projections, reproduced in extreme slow-motion, unfold a disturbing and at the same time captivating effect that takes the viewer away from his irritated everyday life and forces him to meditative calm.

 

 

kabine 1

INSTALLATION (ROOM)  |  WOOD  /  CERAMIC  /  WALL / METAL | NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2011 |

 

 

 

seraph

INSTALLATION (SCULPTURE) | 13,00 x 4,00 M |  WOOD / TILES / METAL | NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER 2011 |

 

 

 

erster gesang

INSTALLATION (CONCEPTAL PAINTING) | ACRYLIC AND WALL CURING ON CANVAS | 42 INDIVIDUAL PARTS | 15.00 X 2.80 X 4.00 M | OCTOBER 2011 |

 

 

In the room installation “Erster Gesang”, which he wrote especially for firstlines, refers to the artist on the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. To this main work of the Italian poet, Frank Balve wrote a 15 x 2.8 meter large, 42 individual canvases and an audiovisual installation, which can be seen on 15 monitors, which is to be surpassed by the visitors.
Frank Balves attempting to accommodate Dante’s dances into the 95 square meters of the gallery seems to be dared, but after an intensive examination it emerges as an excellent, abstract production of the literary classics. Through an intensive color symbolism, strong contrasts in the handling of the rooms, exciting visions and the change of media, tempo and style, the crossing on the Styx is actually made perceptible.

In order that I might flee this great misfortune,
That you lead me to where you said,
So that of the holy Peter door I see
And those whom you portray as so sad. –
Then he went, and I followed his steps.

– Dante, Divine Comedy, first song

 

 

abteilung 2

INSTALLATION (SUBTERRANEAN ROOM ) | 3 X 3 X 3 M | WOOD / PAPER / PLEXIGLAS | JULY 2011 |

 

 

 

 

abteilung 1

INSTALLATION (ROOM) | 3 X 3 X 3 M | WOOD / PAPER / GLASS / STONE  | JUNI 2011 |

 

 

 

the hide

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND / VIDEO) | 8.00 X 3.50 X 2.45 M | METAL / WOOD / TELEVISION / SHOPPING CUP (1.80 X 0.60 M) | JUNE 2011 |

 

 

The work is a space-grabbing media installation consisting of two sculptural elements:
One of them is a free-floating roll consisting of 30 equal-sized televisions. These are arranged in a circular shape in three columns (one-armed bandit). Can be seen, rotating gambling symbols (lemon, melon, the number 7, etc.) and light staccato passages. The wheel measures 2 x 2 meters.

The second element is a doll lying in one of the corners, on the ground. This is adapted to the wheel color. The dimensions of the doll are 1.80 x 0.60 meters. The sculptures and sculptures are supported by a sound installation. This sound collage is made up of playing games, which come from casinos. The theme of the game is the starting point for the sound installation. The theme of the class exhibition is the Indians of North America. Frank Balve dealt with the aspect of gambling and its consequences on operators and visitors (addiction). Another theme is also the blindness of society and distraction of historical facts.

 

 

sirene

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND / VIDEO) | MARKUS CHURCH MUNICH | JUNE 2011 |

 

 

The space installation of Frank Balve and Nico Kiese is devoted to the wide-ranging theme of advertising, which serves both the targeted and the indirect influencing of man for mostly commercial purposes.
In the rooms of the St. Mark’s Church, the two artists create an installation that takes up the aspects of popular advertising mechanisms and immerses the church space in a different light. With the obvious opposites of the church space and through emotional, as well as informing, messages, advertising appeals to conscious and unconscious needs or creates new ones.
The most important element of advertising is usually not the information that is getting more in
The background, or even altogether, but suggestion. It circumvents as far as possible the conscious level of perception and directly addresses the unconscious.
People make over 70% of their decisions not rational, but – based on emotions – unconsciously. Therefore, advertising associations, instincts, desires, weaknesses and fears, which are slumbering in the subconscious mind of the people.

The result is an incessant bombardment by advertising and marketing, which is probably the largest psychological individual project ever undertaken.

 

 

work and progress

PERFORMANCE | WALL WITH WINDOWS (WOOD GLASS) | TWO DAYS PERFORMANCE | FEBRUARY 2011 |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

room

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND / VIDEO ) | WOOD / GLASS / MONITORS / PLASTIC | ACRYL / RUG / STONE / PAPER | JANUARY 2011 |

 

 

lemniskate

INSTALLATION (VIDEO / SOUND) | WOOD / GLASS / MONITORS / LIGHT BAGS  |  JANUARY 2011 |

 

 

The work is a space-grabbing media installation consisting of two sculptural elements:
One of them is a free-floating roll consisting of 30 equal-sized televisions. These are arranged in a circular shape in three columns (one-armed bandit). Can be seen, rotating gambling symbols (lemon, melon, the number 7, etc.) and light staccato passages. The wheel measures 2 x 2 meters.
The second element is a doll lying in one of the corners, on the ground. This is adapted to the wheel color. The dimensions of the doll are 1.80 x 0.60 meters. The sculptures and sculptures are supported by a sound installation. This sound collage is made up of playing games, which come from casinos. The theme of the game is the starting point for the sound installation. The theme of the class exhibition is the Indians of North America. Frank Balve dealt with the aspect of gambling and its consequences on operators and visitors (addiction). Another theme is the blindness of society and the distraction of historical facts.

 

 

im kantigen fels nach farben graben

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND / VIDEO ) |  WOOD / MONITORS | VIDEO – 68 MINUTES | CELLARINSTALLATION FOR THE VIDEO | WOOD BOX IN SHOP- WINDOW | OCTOBER 2010 |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

drunk

INSTALLATION (ROOM / SOUND / VIDEO ) | WOOD / METAL / MONITORS  | WALL WITH MONITORS (8,00 X 4,50 M) |  WREK (6,00 X 2,50 M)  |  JULY 2010  |