Atul Bhalla is a conceptual artist working with environmental issues, particularly on water, for more than two decades. His work invites the audience to engage directly with urban and metropolitan spaces, and in particular water resources, in his city New Delhi, and those he visits during the course of international exhibitions and residencies. He did his work ‘Yamuna Walk’ was part of the traveling exhibition Walk On: From Richard Long to Janet Cardiff – 40 years of art-walking at MAC Birmingham. He has also participated in the Yamuna Elbe Project, a project about two rivers – Elbe in Hamburg and the Yamuna in Delhi in 2011-12.
In his engagement with the eco-politics of water, Bhalla has been pushing for various thematic links through his multifaceted practice. Primarily using photography the artist explores histories and associative meanings of sites of everyday living, building narratives through performance and many times using text as well. His own body becomes a vessel in these explorations, as he photographs himself standing, sitting, lying or immersed in these spaces. He is particularly interested in the juncture where history makes itself visible in the present, not in a direct narrative manner but almost sublimely, where history is taken for granted despite its many implications which are in contrast to today’s world view.
He has published two books on his performance works, Yamuna Walk by University Washington Press, and What will be my Defeat by GFLK Galerie für Lanschaftskunst Hamburg. The artist lives and works in New Delhi.