In his latest work, Balasubramaniam, more commonly known as Bala, deepens his exploration of the natural forces around us. layers of wind, lines of time creates an environment of life-in-formation: forms receding into the depth of the walls, or stalactites seeming to grow spontaneously out of them. Drawing on and collaborating with nature, Bala creates works from wood, stone and metal that seem indistinguishable from those formed over millennia in the natural environment. Partly an homage to nature, partly a challenge to create something of beauty and simplicity that may appear to be natural, here Bala’s hand is felt as much as seen, present in the ways it moves like the wind through the matter around it. Highlighting the stratified way the natural world is shaped over time, Bala builds his works gradually, by way of accumulation and condensation. His wind works, created over months, employ movements of air: terrains of deposited dust and pigment that become timescapes on canvas. Complex but unified, the lines and layers of Bala's work reveal the energies that, although imperceptible in any given instant, are constantly shaping and re-shaping the material world.
Throughout his career, Bala has engaged with those forces we normally think of as peripheral – light, shadow, gravity – forces that nevertheless give form to our experience. Foregrounding the perceptual in his work, which often surprises or confounds, Bala playfully challenges viewers to question and ultimately expand the limits of their perception. Always more than meets the eye, each of his pieces is, as he says, “the trace of a thought,” evidence of the indelible marriage between form and idea. Bala’s work gives new weight to the tangible – weight at once symbolic, spiritual, and distinctly human. Alwar Balasubramaniam was born in 1971 in Tamil Nadu, India. His works have been featured in international exhibitions and institutions 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; Essl Museum, Austria; École des Beaux Arts, Paris, France; 1st Singapore Biennale; and 18th Sydney Biennale. Bala has been a guest lecturer at the Art Department of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and a featured speaker at TED.