Artists > Vinod Balak

VINOD BALAK, Dwellers from an Unmapped Terrain, 2016, oil on canvas, 79.2 x 182.8 cm / 31.2 x 72 in


In Balak's world-view animals masquerade in human domains, bearing the marks and the contradictions of cultural transition. Enacting the roles of their human masters, they inhabit automated bodies, and flesh tones reminiscent of Sivakasi poster colours – flamboyant and unreal.

In this way the artist creates episodic images that invert the normal order, and allows the lesser to commandeer the greater. Here it is important to get a sense of the artist’s intentionality. Speaking from the fringes of small town India, and a redolent Marxism, Balak articulates a post-colonial confidence even as he draws on the dark trenchant humour of Malayam literature and theatre.

His works in themselves bear out description, for such is their intense narrative engagement. However as the principal actors in Balak’s highly defined and formally laid out compositions these are acts of mimesis. The animal forms are enacting a dialogue with what the artist likes to describe as a “fetish” but which could also be read as a quotation, that seeks to reposition the notions of value and beauty in art.

Born 1982 in Kerala, India
BFA (Painting), Government College of Fine Arts, Thrissur, Kerala
MFA (Painting), S.N. School of Fine Arts, Hyderabad Central
University, Hyderabad
Lives and works in New Delhi

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2010

    Venus Retrograde, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2018

    Nine Painters from Kerala, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai 

  • 2017

    DWELLING’, 10th Anniversary Show (Part II), curated by Ranjit Hoskote, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai

  • 2015
    The Sound of Silence, Kalakriti Art Gallery, Hyderabad
  • 2013
    Touched by Bhupen, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
  • 2012
    New Selections: South Asia, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York
  • 2012
    Flying, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
  • 2011
    Mumbai Gallery Weekend, Taj Lands End, Mumbai
  • 2011
    5th Anniversary Exhibition, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
  • 2011
    Roots in the Air, Branches Below – Modern and Contemporary Art from India, San Jose Museum of Art, California
  • 2008
    Anxious, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, MumbaiCurated by Gitanjali Dang
  • 2005
    Lalit Kala Akademi State Exhibitions, Kerala