Giving My Back to the Night…

Davide Balliano


First Giant
Solo Exhibition and Live Performance
Curated by Jovana Stokic
Through the myth of Ulysses blinding the cyclopes Polyphemus, Davide Balliano  begins his representation of the five phases of sleep
by enacting the ancestral fight against the obscure void that blinds us every night.
Live Performance by
Davide Balliano 

First Giant
MARCH 3, 6- 9 pm 
MARCH 4 6- 9 pm 
MARCH 5 5- 8 pm 


Location One is pleased to present Davide Balliano’s first solo show in New York and has commissioned a new installation from the artist for the occasion.

In the exhibition “Giving My Back to the Night I Heard You Lying to a Giant (First Giant)” Davide Balliano uses the myth of Ulysses blinding the Cyclops Polyphemus as a starting point for his representation of the five phases of sleep which he calls the “ancestral fight against the obscure void that blinds us every night”. Through dark and poetic combinations of performance, objects, drawings, and installation, Balliano explores his ongoing interest in the human mind and its fragile structures and contradictions.

Balliano’s exhibition and performance, conceived as a first act of a five-act cycle, symbolizes the first phase of sleep through the figure of a mythological Giant. In the Indo-European ancient tradition, the Giants symbolized the origin of life, the primal chaos that Gods had to fight with, in order to maintain the order of life. Specifically, in Greek mythology, a Giant pointed to a communion between reality and supernatural. In the Odyssey, Ulysses had to blind Polyphemus during his sleep, in order to set himself and his crew free from the cave where the Giant had imprisoned them. This metaphor of blinding, closing the eyes, as a beginning as a new start is the main punctum of this first act. The artist asks: “What is sleep if not a middle point between conscious and unconscious, between light and dark, between life and death?” The exhibition thus becomes an allegorical interpretation of the myth of blinding as an act to regain freedom. The gallery space of Location One, transformed in the cave of Polyphemus, is inhabited by strange protagonists: Ulysses and his crew embodied in abstract wooden objects and appropriated renaissance images. The ritual of blinding that leads to freedom is represented obliquely and frozen in time. The exhibition space relates to the map of vision itself and refers to the crucial mechanism of seeing: a play between two- and three-dimensional perception. These elements the artist deploys in both his installation and performance.

As a special addition to the exhibition, Balliano will perform live on three dates in March.

Born in Turin, Italy in 1983, Davide Balliano has presented his work internationally, including the Kitakyushu Biennial (Japan) and the Vienna Biennale (Austria), and is featured in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Cinisello Balsamo (Milan). Other exhibitions include Artist Space and PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, The Watermill Center in South Hamptons, Plymouth Art Center in Great Britain. His portfolio has been recently exhibited in the Archive of Via Farini for the event “No Souls For Sale” at the Tate Modern Gallery in London. He is one of the winners of the AOL 25 for 25 Award 2010. Balliano lives and works in New York.

Jovana Stokić is the curator of performance art at Location One where, in Marina Abramovic Studio, she supports the growth of performance art by promoting the works of emerging artists on the international scale, organizing and collaborating on events using a network of people converging at Location One. It shows the commitment to experimentation across all art forms and points to recent efforts to return performance art to its central position within the gallery system. Performances, public panels and discussions promote and seek critical discourses on contemporary performance art practice and related issues.

NY State Council on the Arts