Artist references for transient nature of art : Alwar Balasubramaniam

from the comments section of his TED talk:

…it was a reminder to view the world as a continuum and also, to let the imagination explore rather than be rooted in what we expect to see.

Jane Hill

The art in itself is not where the attention is meant to focus here. But on questions of perception, creation possibilities, and everything that lies beyond seeing the mere physical form of his artwork.

Clint Pace

For me the drifting from a purely visual platform for art make sense by decreasing a focus on the visual art once again ingages(engages) individuals. By focusing on ideas, the public attention can be grabbed. One thing I feel is that ideas have the potential to be beautiful.

Tanatswa Pfende

His approach to the “trace” of his subject is along the lines of anticipation. Where the absence of something we know we will get or will happen creates the anticipation which in itself is nothingness. It is the energy created between subjects without complete transference of that energy.

kevin m.

Alwar Balasubramaniam’s Ted talk opened my eyes to the idea of the temporary, the traces and the idea of perception. The two works below are the best examples of the idea of perception and traces. One could look at the work as what it is physically using only one’s own experiences and see it for the surface value it has, or one could ponder and see beyond the physicality. Art has to transcend the spoon-feeding phase that the media of our generation has wired the public to, we as artist have to challenge the viewer to see beyond.


Breath, Two holes in wall 64ʺ x 0.63ʺ 2007 | Courtesy of Talwar Gallery, New York / New Delhi © Alwar Balasubramaniam

His sculpture ‘Breath’ is a perfect example of the minimalist way in which he conveys complex ideas. The piece consists of two small holes drilled a few centimeters apart in a white wall. Whilst superficially simplistic, the skill of the artist is not intended to be demonstrated through the making of the sculpture itself, but through the raising of a question. The wall with the two holes stands in front of another wall, leaving a space of air in between. What the spectator sees are just the two holes, demarcating where air is being circulated in and out of the space between the two walls. In so doing, Bala conjures a way to almost tangibly see air circulation.

Kristina Camilleri-Grygolec (


Untitled, Sand fiberglass, evaporating compound, acrylic and wood (Cast from self) 18ʺ x 24ʺ x 20ʺ (Each of 2) 2004 Private Collection, New York | Courtesy of Talwar Gallery, New York / New Delhi © Alwar Balasubramaniam

Bala also plays with the idea of appearance and disappearance and how our judgements are relative to the context in which we make them. His self-portrait, made out of solidified air freshener, slowly evaporates and disappears into the air that we inhale and exhale.

Kristina Camilleri-Grygolec (