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ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM

Bala

Body as shell, 2011-15  Sandstone  5 1/2″ x 19″ x 31 1/2″

Bala’s interest in the natural world has sustained his artistic practice for decades. His bodily knowing of nature has been critical to Bala’s work over the course of his career—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. Working across media—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.

"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

Text/Image

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 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

Pulse, 2020

Pigments and acrylic on canvas

117 1/2" x 77 1/2"

Untitled, 2020

Acrylic on canvas

117 1/2" x 77 1/2"

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

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

Under current, 2015

Acrylic on cast fiberglass

14" x 29" x 2"

Surge, 2013

Sandstone

14" x 23" x 47"

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

Unfolded Sky, 2011-2012

Granite

62" x 54" x 58"

Knots, 2011
Iron
153" x 24" x 36”

Into One, 2011-14

Cast aluminum

72” x 48” x 42”

Endless Line and Expanded Space, 2010-2011

Iron

36" x 44" x 53"

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

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

Gravity, 2009
Fiberglass, wood and acrylic 
24" x 4" x 24" 

Link, 2009

String, hook and magnet

52" x 71" x 71"

Hidden Waves, 2008

Fiberglass and Acrylic

12 x 12 (Each of 12)

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

Gravity, 2008

Fiberglass and acrylic

76" x 72" x 10"

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

Shadow of the Shadow of the Shadow, 2007

Fiberglass, wood, acrylic

49" x 150" x 17"

Breath, 2007

Two Holes in Wall

64" x .63"

Wound, 2006

Fiberglass and neon light tubes

18" x 36" x 13"

Gravity, 2006

Fiberglass and acrylic

35" x 10" x 7"

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

18" x 24" x 20"

 

Untitled, 2004

Fiberglass, acrylic, rope, dust

58" x 134" x 5 1/2"

Self in Progress, 2002

Fiberglass cast from self, cloth, acrylic, wood

45" x 33 1/2" x 19"

Pulse, 2020

Pigments and acrylic on canvas

117 1/2" x 77 1/2"

Untitled, 2020

Acrylic on canvas

117 1/2" x 77 1/2"

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

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

Under current, 2015

Acrylic on cast fiberglass

14" x 29" x 2"

Surge, 2013

Sandstone

14" x 23" x 47"

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

Unfolded Sky, 2011-2012

Granite

62" x 54" x 58"

Knots, 2011
Iron
153" x 24" x 36”

Into One, 2011-14

Cast aluminum

72” x 48” x 42”

Endless Line and Expanded Space, 2010-2011

Iron

36" x 44" x 53"

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

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

Gravity, 2009
Fiberglass, wood and acrylic 
24" x 4" x 24" 

Link, 2009

String, hook and magnet

52" x 71" x 71"

Hidden Waves, 2008

Fiberglass and Acrylic

12 x 12 (Each of 12)

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

Gravity, 2008

Fiberglass and acrylic

76" x 72" x 10"

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

Shadow of the Shadow of the Shadow, 2007

Fiberglass, wood, acrylic

49" x 150" x 17"

Breath, 2007

Two Holes in Wall

64" x .63"

Wound, 2006

Fiberglass and neon light tubes

18" x 36" x 13"

Gravity, 2006

Fiberglass and acrylic

35" x 10" x 7"

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

18" x 24" x 20"

 

Untitled, 2004

Fiberglass, acrylic, rope, dust

58" x 134" x 5 1/2"

Self in Progress, 2002

Fiberglass cast from self, cloth, acrylic, wood

45" x 33 1/2" x 19"

Video