Martin-Emilian Balint

The work of Martin Emilian Balint, sculptor, photographer and video artist, ranges from a fantastic and wonderful baroque dimension, as in the cascades of origami paper birds in Alfred Hitchcock’s Fetish (2003-2005), or the five hundred paraffin boots in Marching boots (2007), to the paradoxical irony of a gigantic lace condom (Handmade macramé condom, 2006), and to experiences that are more markedly and severely conceptual, like this Cemetery for one. “I had been wondering for some time,” explains Balint, “what would have happened if I took an element which by definition has a multiple, plural sense, and transformed it into a singular entity. One of those things that exist because they represent the community, such as squares or cemeteries, which by definition are places created for more than one person. And, at the same time, I reflected on the precarious nature of things in a determined time line; creatures with a short life like moths, that are born in the morning and die in the evening. And so I had the idea of this cemetery for only one person who lives several lives, each only one year long. Then he is born again and dies again… Living just one day like moths, but several consecutive times. Playing with time; instead of having just one life of I don’t know how many years, being born knowing that each level of life is compressed into the space of only one year. A series of avatars… I wanted this work to be like a funerary monument, with photographs printed on round ceramic plates, just like on real tombstones, with little plaques giving the date of birth and death. The work refers to me. So it is composed of 26 empty wooden boxes (26 years), raised 1.71 m above the ground (my height). The boxes are 25 cm high (like my head), 40 cm long and 15 cm wide. On one side there is a photograph of me with my eyes open and a small metal plaque with my date of birth, on the other side the same photograph, but with my eyes closed, and the date of death. That is: 1 April 1982 – 31 March 1983 (exactly one year). Then the next life continues on the next box: with the date of birth and the date of death of the following year… and so on up till 2007, where there is only the date of birth but nothing is marked yet for the date of death. The boxes are open on two sides, so that the visitor can look through the aligned boxes and look through the person’s life. From the beginning or from the end.”