The Big Scale: A work in Progress

The Big Scale


Mir will be showing The Big Scale (2010), originally created for‘Glück Happens’ at the Städtische Galerie, Erlangen, DE (June 2 – July 25, 2010). An enlarged set of bathroom scales that are now undergoing a massive rework by C.Burr Design (Stroud) to convert its capabilities from one tonne to two. What Mir has said about the work –

“…For the fat, for the slim, for one person, for two, for many, for a whole family, for neighbours, for co-workers, for people and their pets, for a class of children, for random gallery goers to weigh themselves together as they pass through the space”.

This set of giant bathroom scales connects the societal obsessions of failed diets, health and obesity to community. The work is suggestive of an internal dialogue that could go… I’ll make the scales bigger, I’ll appear smaller, therefore lighter. A misdirected thought process that struggles for a solution to the social obsession with physical appearance. Mir has in fact berated certain portrayals of women saying,

“The fashion industry’s insistence on impossible beauty ideals and novelty verges on fascism.” Mir WOW blog 21.03.2011

Also within the work is the idea that the scales could weigh an entire community. In their new form the scales will be able to weigh up to 65 adult males, nearing two tonnes. In a move away from obsession with self and impossible versions of humanity

Mir creates something better suited to measuring the general bio-mass. The work becomes suggestive of something more cooperative; our collective weight, a metaphor for people power – together we carry more weight. It is in this way that Aleksandra Mir’s The Big Scale is pertinent to this new space and the birth of INDEX, an artist-led not-for-profit gallery to be launched in the Autumn of this year.

Mir’s work often takes the form of social processes that are understood in terms of everyday life and frequently employ humanistic and playful strategies. The narratives within her works soon reveal a self-aware and critical investigation of norms, traditions, hope and aspiration. Mir does not consider herself a studio artist statin

“…every day I do different jobs in different locations”Mir WOW blog 21.03.2011

Her work is often characterised by her approach to failure as expressed through her titles; Not the First Woman on the Moon (1999), How Not To Cookbook (2009). In her work Gravity, (2006) commissioned by Arts Catalyst, Mir constructed a 40 foot space rocket built of salvaged components. The work conjured an earth bound monolith built as a temporary monument to redundancy and decay whilst still harbouring the fantasy and ambition of space travel.

Aleksandra Mir born Lubin, Poland, 1967, holds dual American/Swedish citizenship. She studied Communications at Schillerska/Gothenburg University, Media Arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York and Cultural Anthropology at The Graduate Faculty, The New School for Social Research. Mir has work in the collections of Tate Modern, Saatchi Gallery, Moma (NYC) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to name but a few.


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