In the room installation “Erster Gesang” (First Song), which he developed especially for firstlines, he refers to
to the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. For this major work by the Italian poet, Frank Balve has created a 15 x 2.8 metre painting consisting of 42 individual canvases and an audiovisual installation that can be seen on 30 monitors that visitors must cross.
Frank Balve’s attempt to house all 34 of Dante’s songs in the 95 square meters of the gallery seems daring at first, but after intensive observation it turns out to be an outstanding, abstract staging of the literary classic. Through intensive colour symbolism, strong contrasts in dealing with the rooms, exciting views and the change of media, tempo and style, the crossing on the Styx is actually made experienceable.
So that I can flee this and great misfortune,
That you would lead me where you said you would,
So that the holy Peter’s door I see
And those you describe as so sad. –
Then he left, and I followed his steps.
– Dante, Divine Comedy, First Song