Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
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 Malayalam literature and theatre. 

His works in themselves bear out a 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', curated by Gitanjali Dang, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
2005   Lalit Kala Akademi State Exhibitions, Kerala



Vinod Balak Venus Retrograde

December 16, 2010 - January 29, 2011


Staging Art

by Gregory Maddox, Indian Express