You can call Michail Balan stubborn for his unwillingness to follow the well-trodden paths and standards established by contemporary art. The artist is convinced that none of the elements of art should be taken for granted. The aesthetics and the material is just as important as the ideas behind them. In his new series of works called “Traveling Art”, he continues to explore the role of traditional materials in the “non-traditional” art and reflects on the possibility of the creating the artistic environment around them.
The sculptor offers the future owners of his works opportunity to travel with the favorite piece.
The new sculptures inherit visual ideas contained in the previous project “Rooting”. Once again, natural forms give artist a hint for his art-form, then, following the principle of Michelangelo, he cuts off all excessive parts. Balan himself calls the approach “wise plastic”, because nature is infinitely wise in its perception. Bizarre surreal wood curves aren’t that big now; they were designed this time by radically new principle. The artist wants to be convincing in a small form, conceiving each work as a large object and then “compressing” it down to a 15-20 centimeter sculpture. The modest size of the new works enables Balan to work quickly and emotionally. As a person who draws part of his inspiration from travels, he appreciates short-lived bright moments, and the opportunity to instantly reflect it in his work. Behind the idea of traveling arts also lurks the practical aspect. Small works are easier to transport, which in turn means their beauty would be more accessible for viewers all around the globe. There is a literal meaning to the title. The sculptor offers the future owners of his works opportunity to travel with the favorite piece. This idea was borrowed from Arab sheikhs.
He compares his sculptures to the expensive smoking pipes, durable black mouthpiece, and noble brown base bowl create a recognizable image, a symbol of confidence and centralization.
The new concept and format are strongly linked with the new material, the most rare and expensive wood in the world. This wood has many names: gaharu, agarwood, oud, aloeswood, tree of the gods, and many others. This tree has an impressive history and is surrounded by more myths and legends than its names. Even for the biggest skeptic, it is difficult to deny the high sacred value of the gaharu, which is marked in many religions and cultures. In Muslim religious practices, fragrances based with gaharu are used to soak prayer garments. The wood is used in Tibetan, Ayurvedit, and traditional oriental medicine, perfumery, and Eastern religious sacraments. Balan treats such a unique and revered tree with the awe and respects it demands. With his work, the gaharu acquires the ability to open up in a new way. Its rich color and texture complements the elegant art plastic inherent to the artist. The complex sweet fragrance found in the wood is another part of its fame. This is something the artist always tries to convey when speaking about his new project, because the exotic, noble essence becomes part of his work.
Visual symbolism is very important to the artist. He compares his sculptures to the expensive smoking pipes, durable black mouthpiece, and noble brown base bowl create a recognizable image, a symbol of confidence and centralization. The symbols and hints are hidden in every detail of his works. For example, the black pedestals made of one of the most dense wood, ebony, emphasizes the solidity and strength of the ideas upon Balan’s art. At the same time, it is a “traditional” platform for new material and new experiments.