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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"

as the wind blows
as the wind blows
20th Anniversary Exhibition Talwar Gallery, New York September 25 - December 17, 2021
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
Prelude by Sangita Jindal March 2018
Art India
Art India
Cloud in the Room, Pools on the Canvas 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

Video