Mikhail Balan

Mikhail Balan

Mikhail Balan (born 1971) initially studied law but ultimately decided to become an art restorer. Worked on “Rosrestoration” projects within the legendary Site #1. This experience proved to be fundamental and formed the technical base of his future endeavors. Restored sacred sites both in Russia and Europe. Worked with students on wood carving techniques. During the early 1990s was a member of the Moscow underground art movement which helped him formulate his signature style and vision for contemporary wood sculpture. During the 2000s, worked with Slava Polunin as part of the Theatre Olympics, creating a theatre without walls which proved to be exceedingly popular with audiences. Participated in numerous notable theatre festivals, showcasing kinetic wood sculptures. Established his very own woodworking enterprise, producing high-quality furniture which was made from various combinations of wood, metal, glass, and stone. During the same time, in the 2000s, Mikhail, a passionate aikido practitioner and Japanese philosophy enthusiast, opened the “Hagakure” club to celebrate Eastern culture (“Hagakure” or “Hagakure Kikigaki” means “hidden in the leaves” in Japanese, it refers to the spiritual practices of warriors). The club is based in Moscow and includes a tea house and an event space where delegations of Japanese experts are regularly hosted. This space also proved to be the perfect location for the artist’s solo exhibitions. In 2003, Mikhail visited India for the first time. The trip left a huge impact and provoked a deep change in his life. During his stay in India, Mikhail engaged in yoga, pranayama breathing practices, and nail board standing. He even had the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama. In the following 17 years, Mikhail dedicated himself to his work, living in various Southeast Asia countries and organizing exhibitions. Before returning to Russia in 2021, he spent seven years in the town of Ubud on Bali, studying local culture and creating new works using rare species of wood. Mikhail takes great care to display all the natural properties of the wood. With support from the Royal Family of Indonesia, Mikhail was able to relocate many of his artworks to Russia. Several of these pieces, having overcome the borders of time and space, are presented as part of the present exhibition in a veritable display of the everlasting power hidden inside the continents.

Exhibition participant:

Dhyāna. Deep Contemplation

List of paintings