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Nikolai Balabin 05.03–30.03.2021

Nikolai Balabin’s artistic work is material-based in nature. The character of the work is created in dialogue with the material. He connects different materials, pieces, which together create a new whole – character, picture, landscape, stage of life. He creates poetic images by materializing his dreams, thoughts, impressions and memories. 

Balabin believes that jet is one of the most inspiring materials in jewellery-making. “My work with jet consists of breaking and assembling. After splitting a big piece of jet into many pieces, I start looking for shapes that start talking about themselves. I listen to them attentively and start a dialogue with them. They suggest to me their stories, to which I may add my own interpretations. One of the fascinating characteristics of jet is that when it splits, it forms unique shapes and textures. Sanding creates black, silky and warm matte surfaces. When working with jet, its structure often defines the character of the work. I utilize the natural block surface of jet and combine other materials with it.” 

Today jet is a rare material in jewelry art. It is petrified coniferous wood from the Jurassic period. It is one of the most ancient gemstones – the tomb finds of the first simple jet objects date from the 15-14th centuries BC. 

Nikolai Balabin is a certified architect, having graduated from the St. Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1991). He later graduated from the College of Crafts and Design in Lappeenranta, Finland, with a specialisation in jewellery-making and stonework design (1996). Since 2000 he has organised 22 solo exhibitions in the Nordic and Baltic countries and Russia and since 1996, participated in 186 group exhibitions in Europe. Balabin has worked as a curator and received several awards. His work can be found in public collections such as the collection of The State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Collection of Finnish State Art Commission, and private collections worldwide.