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ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM

"I am a part and a tiny fraction of nature defined by my ego. I would like to keep expanding my circle by being open towards everything around me and trying to find the hidden meaning."

Alwar Balasubramaniam

Kaayam (Detail) | 2008 |  Fiberglass, wood and acrylic 

Kaayam (Detail) | 2008 |  Fiberglass, wood and acrylic 


Over the decades Alwar Balasubramaniam has had a sustained and ever-deepening relationship with the natural world—not only its landscapes or physical elements, but the forces that surround us. Working across a range of media and materials, Balasubramaniam, known also as Bala, focuses these life-giving forces in ways that make them visible and tangible—bringing the geological and elemental to human-scale. Bala’s bodily knowing of nature has been critical to his work over time—work which seeks continuously to investigate the possibilities of the senses to capture and engage with that which extends beyond them. With searching, always-curious attention, Bala probes our perception, pushing past normal habits of seeing, feeling, and relating – making visible what we otherwise overlook in the course of our daily living.

Balasubramaniam’s work revolves around the notions of transition and transformation...His sculpture fuses intellectual, emotional and spiritual concerns.

Vesela Sretenovic, The Phillips Collection

Stone Waves | 2010-2011 | Sandstone

Stone Waves | 2010-2011 | Sandstone

From intimate and barely perceptible to room-size installations—Bala harnesses the potentiality of each material to work in new and unexpected ways. Bala playfully challenges viewers to question and ultimately expand the limits of their perception. In every case, his interest remains steady: to open our eyes and minds, quite literally, to the world around us.

Balasubramaniam has long investigated thresholds between presence and absence and the physical and the spiritual, particularly in relationship to himself.

Shanay Jhaveri, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Bala’s hand is felt as much as seen, present in the ways it moves like the wind through the matter around it or gently guiding the water as it flows through his landscape.

Kasturba Lalbhai Museum

Bala’s artworks … pay a homage to a life lived in close proximity to nature...There is something simple but magical in the organic world he re-creates and the sense of harmony he aspires to.

Sangita Jindal, Art India

By foregrounding the ease with which matter can be converted into states of immateriality, Balasubramaniam reveals to us how flesh might be sublimated into spirit.

Artforum

Alwar Balasubramaniam (Bala) was born in 1971 in Tirunelveli, India. He received a BFA from the Government College of Arts, Chennai, India, in 1995 after which he continued his studies in Edinburgh and Vienna. In 1998 he was artist in residence at The MacDowell Colony in NH after which he returned to Bangalore, where he lived and practiced till 2015. Subsequently Bala returned to his native village near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu and embarked on creating his home and studio in the countryside, where he continues to live and work.

 

Bala's works have been featured in exhibitions worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington; École des Beaux Arts, Paris, France; Essl Museum, Austria; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia, 1st Singapore Biennale; and 18th Sydney Biennale. In 2001 he was given the Joan Miro foundation award accompanied by a solo exhibition.

 

Bala has been a guest lecturer at the Art Department of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and a featured speaker at TED.

 

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails
Trapped in, 2018 - 2019
Trapped in
Trapped in (Detail)
Trapped in
Trapped in, 2018 - 2019

Trapped in, 2018 - 2019
Earth, pigments on canvas
44" x 44"

Expanded drop, 2018 - 2019
Expanded drop
Expanded drop, 2018 - 2019

Expanded drop, 2018 - 2019
Natural indigo on canvas
44" x 44"

Untitled, 2020, Acrylic on canvas
Untitled
Untitled (Detail)
Untitled, 2020, Acrylic on canvas

Untitled, 2020

Acrylic on canvas

117 1/2" x 77 1/2"

I was like you, you will be like me, 2018 - 2019
I was like you, you will be like me
I was like you, you will be like me (Detail)
I was like you, you will be like me, 2018 - 2019

I was like you, you will be like me, 2018 - 2019
Clay and cast fiberglass
7" x 73.5" x 4.5"

Wind Curve, 2018
Wind Curve
Wind Curve (Detail)
Wind Curve, 2018

Wind Curve, 2018
Natural indigo pigments on resin cast
36" x 44"

Study for a liquid mountain, 2017-18
Study for a liquid mountain (Detail)
Study for a liquid mountain
Study for a liquid mountain, 2017-18

Study for a liquid mountain, 2017-18
Fiberglass and iron
111" x 56" x 56"

Under current, 2015, Acrylic on cast fiberglass
Under current
Under current, 2015, Acrylic on cast fiberglass

Under current, 2015

Acrylic on cast fiberglass

14" x 29" x 2"

Rain in the midnight, 2015-16, Graphite and acrylic on cast fiberglass
Rain in the midnight, 2015-16, Graphite and acrylic on cast fiberglass
Rain in the midnight, 2015-16, Graphite and acrylic on cast fiberglass

Rain in the midnight, 2015-16

Graphite and acrylic on cast fiberglass

45" x 84" x 3"

Wings of the wind, 2014 - 2016
Wings of the wind
Wings of the wind, 2014 - 2016

Wings of the wind, 2014 - 2016
Acrylic, pigment and soot on fiberglass
22.5" x 18" x 2"

Surge, 2013, Sandstone
Surge
Surge, 2013, Sandstone

Surge, 2013

Sandstone

14" x 23" x 47"

Nothing from my hands, 2011-2012
Nothing from my hands
Nothing from my hands
Nothing from my hands
Nothing from my hands (Detail)
Nothing from my hands, 2011-2012

Nothing from my hands, 2011-2012
Granite
64" x 54" x 67"

Dead-line, 2011 Iron 48" x 19" x 105"
Dead-line (detail)
Dead-line (Detail)
Dead-line, 2011 Iron 48" x 19" x 105"

Dead-line, 2011
Iron
48" x 19" x 105"

Knots, 2011 Iron
Knots
Knots (Detail)
Knots, 2011 Iron

Knots, 2011
Iron
153" x 24" x 36”

Into One, 2011-14, Cast aluminum
Into One
Into One
Into One (Detail)
Into One
Into One
Into One, 2011-14, Cast aluminum

Into One, 2011-14

Cast aluminum

72” x 48” x 42”

Endless Line and Expanded Space, 2010-2011, Iron
Endless Line and Expanded Space
Endless Line and Expanded Space, 2010-2011, Iron

Endless Line and Expanded Space, 2010-2011

Iron

36" x 44" x 53"

Nothing From My Hands, 2010-2011
Nothing From My Hands (Detail)
Nothing From My Hands (Detail)
Nothing From My Hands (Detail)
Nothing From My Hands (Detail)
Nothing From My Hands (Detail)
Nothing From My Hands (Detail)
Nothing From My Hands (Detail)
Nothing From My Hands, 2010-2011

Nothing From My Hands, 2010-2011
Fiberglass and acrylic
480" x 13" x 144"

Sk(in), 2009-2011 Iron and brass
Sk(in)
Sk(in)
Sk(in) (Detail)
Sk(in), 2009-2011 Iron and brass

Sk(in), 2009-2011
Iron and brass
105" x 99" x 99”

Link, 2009, String, hook and magnet
Link (Detail)
Link, 2009, String, hook and magnet

Link, 2009

String, hook and magnet

52" x 71" x 71"

Hidden Waves, 2008, Fiberglass and Acrylic
Hidden Waves (Detail)
Hidden Waves (Detail)
Hidden Waves (Detail)
Hidden Waves, 2008, Fiberglass and Acrylic

Hidden Waves, 2008

Fiberglass and Acrylic

12 x 12 (Each of 12)

Kaayam, 2008 Installation in four parts
Kaayam (Detail)
Kaayam (Detail)
Kaayam (Detail)
Kaayam (Detail)
Kaayam, 2008 Installation in four parts

Kaayam, 2008
Installation in four parts
Fiberglass, wood and acrylic
Dimensions variable

Shell as a Body, 2007
Shell as a Body (Detail)
Shell as a Body, 2007

Shell as a Body, 2007
Fiberglass, wood, acrylic
18” x 21” x 8”
 

Shadow of the Shadow of the Shadow, 2007, Fiberglass, wood, acrylic
Shadow of the Shadow of the Shadow (Detail)
Shadow of the Shadow of the Shadow (Detail)
Shadow of the Shadow of the Shadow (Detail)
Shadow of the Shadow of the Shadow, 2007, Fiberglass, wood, acrylic

Shadow of the Shadow of the Shadow, 2007

Fiberglass, wood, acrylic

49" x 150" x 17"

Breath, 2007, Two Holes in Wall

Breath, 2007

Two Holes in Wall

64" x .63"

Wound, 2006, Fiberglass and neon light tubes

Wound, 2006

Fiberglass and neon light tubes

18" x 36" x 13"

Gravity, 2006, Fiberglass and acrylic
Gravity (Detail)
Gravity
Gravity, 2006, Fiberglass and acrylic

Gravity, 2006

Fiberglass and acrylic

35" x 10" x 7"

In, But Out, 2005, Fiberglass cast from self and acrylic
In, But Out
In, But Out, 2005, Fiberglass cast from self and acrylic

In, But Out, 2005

Fiberglass cast from self and acrylic

78" x 32" x 8"

Untitled, 2004, Cast from self, sand fiberglass, evaporating compound, acrylic and wood
Untitled
Untitled (Detail)
Untitled (Detail)
Untitled, 2004, Cast from self, sand fiberglass, evaporating compound, acrylic and wood

Untitled, 2004

Cast from self, sand fiberglass, evaporating compound, acrylic and wood

18" x 24" x 20"

 

Untitled, 2004, Fiberglass, acrylic, rope, dust
Untitled (Detail)
Untitled
Untitled, 2004, Fiberglass, acrylic, rope, dust

Untitled, 2004

Fiberglass, acrylic, rope, dust

58" x 134" x 5 1/2"

Self in Progress, 2002, Fiberglass cast from self, cloth, acrylic, wood
Self in Progress
Self in Progress
Self in Progress, 2002, Fiberglass cast from self, cloth, acrylic, wood

Self in Progress, 2002

Fiberglass cast from self, cloth, acrylic, wood

45" x 33 1/2" x 19"

Trapped in, 2018 - 2019

Trapped in, 2018 - 2019
Earth, pigments on canvas
44" x 44"

Expanded drop, 2018 - 2019

Expanded drop, 2018 - 2019
Natural indigo on canvas
44" x 44"

Untitled, 2020, Acrylic on canvas

Untitled, 2020

Acrylic on canvas

117 1/2" x 77 1/2"

I was like you, you will be like me, 2018 - 2019

I was like you, you will be like me, 2018 - 2019
Clay and cast fiberglass
7" x 73.5" x 4.5"

Wind Curve, 2018

Wind Curve, 2018
Natural indigo pigments on resin cast
36" x 44"

Study for a liquid mountain, 2017-18

Study for a liquid mountain, 2017-18
Fiberglass and iron
111" x 56" x 56"

Under current, 2015, Acrylic on cast fiberglass

Under current, 2015

Acrylic on cast fiberglass

14" x 29" x 2"

Rain in the midnight, 2015-16, Graphite and acrylic on cast fiberglass

Rain in the midnight, 2015-16

Graphite and acrylic on cast fiberglass

45" x 84" x 3"

Wings of the wind, 2014 - 2016

Wings of the wind, 2014 - 2016
Acrylic, pigment and soot on fiberglass
22.5" x 18" x 2"

Surge, 2013, Sandstone

Surge, 2013

Sandstone

14" x 23" x 47"

Nothing from my hands, 2011-2012

Nothing from my hands, 2011-2012
Granite
64" x 54" x 67"

Dead-line, 2011 Iron 48" x 19" x 105"

Dead-line, 2011
Iron
48" x 19" x 105"

Knots, 2011 Iron

Knots, 2011
Iron
153" x 24" x 36”

Into One, 2011-14, Cast aluminum

Into One, 2011-14

Cast aluminum

72” x 48” x 42”

Endless Line and Expanded Space, 2010-2011, Iron

Endless Line and Expanded Space, 2010-2011

Iron

36" x 44" x 53"

Nothing From My Hands, 2010-2011

Nothing From My Hands, 2010-2011
Fiberglass and acrylic
480" x 13" x 144"

Sk(in), 2009-2011 Iron and brass

Sk(in), 2009-2011
Iron and brass
105" x 99" x 99”

Link, 2009, String, hook and magnet

Link, 2009

String, hook and magnet

52" x 71" x 71"

Hidden Waves, 2008, Fiberglass and Acrylic

Hidden Waves, 2008

Fiberglass and Acrylic

12 x 12 (Each of 12)

Kaayam, 2008 Installation in four parts

Kaayam, 2008
Installation in four parts
Fiberglass, wood and acrylic
Dimensions variable

Shell as a Body, 2007

Shell as a Body, 2007
Fiberglass, wood, acrylic
18” x 21” x 8”
 

Shadow of the Shadow of the Shadow, 2007, Fiberglass, wood, acrylic

Shadow of the Shadow of the Shadow, 2007

Fiberglass, wood, acrylic

49" x 150" x 17"

Breath, 2007, Two Holes in Wall

Breath, 2007

Two Holes in Wall

64" x .63"

Wound, 2006, Fiberglass and neon light tubes

Wound, 2006

Fiberglass and neon light tubes

18" x 36" x 13"

Gravity, 2006, Fiberglass and acrylic

Gravity, 2006

Fiberglass and acrylic

35" x 10" x 7"

In, But Out, 2005, Fiberglass cast from self and acrylic

In, But Out, 2005

Fiberglass cast from self and acrylic

78" x 32" x 8"

Untitled, 2004, Cast from self, sand fiberglass, evaporating compound, acrylic and wood

Untitled, 2004

Cast from self, sand fiberglass, evaporating compound, acrylic and wood

18" x 24" x 20"

 

Untitled, 2004, Fiberglass, acrylic, rope, dust

Untitled, 2004

Fiberglass, acrylic, rope, dust

58" x 134" x 5 1/2"

Self in Progress, 2002, Fiberglass cast from self, cloth, acrylic, wood

Self in Progress, 2002

Fiberglass cast from self, cloth, acrylic, wood

45" x 33 1/2" x 19"

Alwar Balasubramaniam
Alwar Balasubramaniam
Knowledge of the Past Is the Key to the Future The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY On View
@ FOG Design + Art
@ FOG Design + Art
San Francisco January 20 - January 23, 2022
as the wind blows
as the wind blows
20th Anniversary Exhibition Talwar Gallery, New York September 25, 2021 - February 12, 2022
Alwar Balasubramaniam
Alwar Balasubramaniam
Becoming Nature Talwar Gallery, New York May 4 - September 28, 2019
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
in Alchemy: Explorations in Indigo Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum, Ahmedabad, India January 27 - March 31, 2019
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
Liquid Lake Mountain Talwar Gallery, New Delhi February 9, 2018 - January 5, 2019
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
Rain in the Midnight Talwar Gallery, New York March 5 – July 30, 2016
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
layers of wind, lines of time Talwar Gallery, New Delhi January 28 - August 29, 2015
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
Talwar Gallery, New York May 5, 2012 - March 9, 2013
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
Nothing From My Hands Talwar Gallery, New Delhi January 25 – November 10, 2012
Alwar Balasubramaniam
Alwar Balasubramaniam
Sk(in) The Phillips Collection, Washington DC May 26, 2011 - April 2012
On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century
On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York, NY November 11, 2010 - February 7, 2011
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
(In)Between Talwar Gallery, New Delhi August 22, 2009 – March 5, 2010
Alwar Balasubramaniam
Alwar Balasubramaniam
Talwar Gallery, New York September 21 - December 15, 2007
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
(in)visible Talwar Gallery, New Delhi January 27 - March 31, 2007
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
Into Thin Air Talwar Gallery, New York November 11, 2004 - January 22, 2005
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
Recent Work Talwar Gallery, New York May 11-June 18, 2002
Alwar Balasubramaniam and Ranjani Shettar
Alwar Balasubramaniam and Ranjani Shettar
Seeing Differently: The Phillips Collects for a New Century March 6 - September 12, 2021
Berkeley Institute for South Asia Studies
Berkeley Institute for South Asia Studies
Alwar Balasubramaniam + Atreyee Gupta | Crisis and Creativity: Artists Speak Series November 12, 2020
Stir Magazine
Stir Magazine
Artist Alwar Balasubramaniam’s practice alchemises the five elements into art March 21, 2020
Christie's
Christie's
Collecting Stories: Kiran Nadar February 12, 2020
Sculpture Magazine
Sculpture Magazine
Seeing What is Not There: A Conversation with Alwar Balasubramaniam July 15, 2019
Artforum
Artforum
Alwar Balasubramaniam September 2018
Art Asia Pacific
Art Asia Pacific
Alwar Balasubramaniam: Liquid Lake Mountain March 16, 2018
The Indian Express
The Indian Express
Up Above the World So High: Alwar Balasubramaniam takes up the brush after two decades March 11, 2018
Art India
Art India
Cloud in the Room, Pools on the Canvas March 2018
Art India
Art India
Prelude by Sangita Jindal March 2018
Vogue India
Vogue India
Calling all Art Devotees: These Artists Need to be a Part of your Collection November 8, 2016
The New Yorker
The New Yorker
Alwar Balasubramaniam June 2016
ArtForum
ArtForum
Critics’ Pick: Alwar Balasubramaniam May 13, 2016
Art Asia Pacific
Art Asia Pacific
Layers of Wind, Lines of Time: Alwar Balasubramaniam May 27, 2015
Artforum
Artforum
Critic's Pick: Alwar Balasubramaniam April 2015
The Indian Express
The Indian Express
Invisible Made Available February 2, 2015
The Asian Age
The Asian Age
Natural Narratives: Alwar Balasubramaniam February 2015
Mint
Mint
Alwar Balasubramaniam: The reclusive superstar January 17, 2015
Art Asia Pacific
Art Asia Pacific
Alwar Balasubramaniam October 2012
Art New England
Art New England
Duality and Contradiction in the Art of Alwar Balasubramaniam July 12, 2012
Artforum
Artforum
Critic's Pick: Alwar Balasubramaniam July 2012
Mint
Mint
Even nothing is something beautiful January 27, 2012
Harper's Bazaar
Harper's Bazaar
'Do you know what you see?' The art of A. Balasubramaniam January 2012
Platform
Platform
Capturing Invisible Territories: Alwar Balasubramaniam January 2012
Robb Report
Robb Report
The Alchemist August 2011
First City
First City
Hyaline January 2011
The New York Times
The New York Times
Squiggly, Tangly and Angular December 1, 2010
Art Asia Pacific
Art Asia Pacific
(In)Between May - June 2010
Art India
Art India
The Inner of the Outer December 2009
TEDIndia
TEDIndia
Alwar Balasubramaniam: Art of Substance and Absence November 2009
Times of India
Times of India
Art is something between science and spirituailty October 23, 2009
Reuters
Reuters
TEDIndia Announced List of Inspiring Speakers from Across the Globe September 10, 2009
Asian Age
Asian Age
Exhibiting Today's Art with an Elusive Sensibility September 7, 2009
Mint
Mint
Seriously Playful August 21, 2009
Sculpture Magazine
Sculpture Magazine
Uncharted Territories: Alwar Balasubramaniam December 1, 2008
Art in Asia
Art in Asia
A. Balasubramaniam November 2008
Asian Art
Asian Art
Art Profile: Alwar Balasubramaniam October 2008
Art Papers
Art Papers
A. Balasubramaniam March 2006
Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College
Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College
Alwar Balasubramaniam: Unfixed Being October 14 - December 7, 2005
Art New England
Art New England
First Person Plural August 2005
The New York Times
The New York Times
Alwar Balasubramaniam December 31, 2004
The New York Times
The New York Times
Art in Review: Alwar Balasubramaniam May 31, 2002
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
Bala 2021
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM
(in)between 2009

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