Even though project “Rooting” was created under the influence of globalization and the inexorable progress, it’s looking for inspiration in the forces of nature and cultural traditions, thus becoming the epitome of world culture through one of its major symbol – a tree. The spectrum of the tree’s symbolic meanings in different cultures is very broad; often it acts as a center of the universe, showing a structure of the cosmos. World tree archetype appears in many ancient cultures. The Tree of Life, Yggdrasil, Etz Chaim. The ancient peoples linked sacred role of the tree not only with its structure, which is allowing it to remain at the same time on earth, under the earth and in the heavens, but also with its utilitarian value, its ability to provide a roof over your head, warm, and sometimes to feed. That is why the wood as a material makes intercultural dialogue of art so close and understandable to anyone.
This art is eco-friendly in its core, sculptor have never used hewed tree, and he believes that even dead tree keeps in itself a drop of life.
In Jungian psychology tree is considered a symbol of constant growth and self-improvement of the human spirit. In fact, different types of trees are often associated with immortality and renewal: acacia – a symbol of overcoming death; oak, peach, boxwood – a symbol of immortality; olive tree, mandrake, laurel – cleansing and healing. “Trees have individuality. A tree, therefore, is often a symbol of personality.” – wrote C. G. Jung. Later psychoanalysis offers subtest “Tree” (also known as Baum test) in which a person is invited to make a pencil drawing of the tree. The main purpose of the test is to identify the human personality. Psychologist Koch offers the following interpretation of this test: drawn tree’s branches associated with passivity or opposition of life, the trunk with the instincts and roots with the collective unconscious. The idea of the collective unconscious in conjunction with the universal symbolic language makes it possible to conduct cross-cultural dialogue between the author and an international audience.
The result of this search was to find a common solution to intercultural language understood by all – “Eurasian art”. By creating such a bridge, the artist does not abandon traditional Russian roots in his art, so it won’t be depersonalized, but rather emphasizes their indispensability for the goal.
Sculptor is trying to show the sacral cultural roots through “roots-material”, which makes it possible to create cross-cultural “rooting” (in the meaning of establishment, it is the same word in Russian) through the prism of art. The concept carries the idea of growth and constant development and did not dwell on the location (country, city), Balan creates a new intercultural space, offering a new form of interactivity, where the exhibition will be changed in response to the actions of the viewer. The “Rooting” was conceived as a mobile project, which makes it even more dynamic, each country, each person would affect its fate and appearance, and the art, in turn, will “take root” in the hearts of the people and it will be the basis for further growth. Simple, apparently lying on the surface, metaphor implicit in the title clearly and expressively convey the essence of the project – a foundation that preserves a self-unrepugnant duality. On the one hand it is the stability of the views and experience of the well-established artist, on the other – is the flexibility of the platform, ready to grow and respond to the changing conjuncture and viewer’s emotions.
This art is eco-friendly in its core, sculptor have never used hewed tree, and he believes that even dead tree keeps in itself a drop of life. Balan’s work is a dialogue with the material; he is listening carefully to the natural whisper, he releases the tree nature, giving it new life in a qualitatively new form. Losing by Baudrillard its authenticity and importance in the functional environment under the pressure of new materials, wood returns its position in a creative environment. In its new form, it does not agree to the role of mere cultural sign of “warmth and generosity”, winning the right to shape the space around it. The works of the new series are very different from previous experiments of the artist; Balan has come a long way from flirting with the decor to the permeated by pagan Slavic traditions series “The Farmstead”, from the utilitarian symbolism to Zen philosophy. The result of this search was to find a common solution to intercultural language understood by all – “Eurasian art”. By creating such a bridge, the artist does not abandon traditional Russian roots in his art, so it won’t be depersonalized, but rather emphasizes their indispensability for the goal. Huge roots (sometimes up to 5 meters wide) captures the imagination with its bizarre twists, relying on intuitive perception of aesthetics and offering a certain freedom of interpretation symbols hidden behind them. Three-dimensional works and sculptures is difficult to convey without loss of quality and meaning in two-dimensional space of the catalog, even more so when the material of these works offers a tactile experience (always unique in the case of different types of wood), and the composition assume interactive metamorphosis. Personal acquaintance fully reveals the project “Rooting”, as a mirror-like surface, showing the secret source of his creative energy – the viewer.