Movement Towards Diminishing Object

2009
Plastic, Gold quaterzite, Steel plate
125 x 90 x 90 cm
Edition of 1

Movement Towards Diminishing Object consists of a large golden quartzite rock seemingly strapped to a plinth by a flimsy plastic chain that appears to erode a hollow space through the core of the rock. With this work, Balmforth examines ideas of materiality, vulnerability, perception and meaning. The impracticality, if not complete impossibility, of the relatively soft plastic chain affecting erosion upon the resistant stone by its movement presents an ideological tension between the objects. The slow methodical movement of the chain around the quartz engages these two objects in a reversal of their superficially described inter-relationship, where material truths do not emerge in an unveiling, but rather manifest themselves as an ongoing process.

The ineptitude of this sculpture to enact the physical process it appears to represent shifts the meaning of diminishment from object to concept. As it becomes clear that the rock's abrasion is not being effected by the chain's plastic, the process, rather than product, becomes the subject of this work. Despite the, both conceptual and physical, futility of this exercise Balmforth manages to retain an element of optimism in this work. The title contains the idea of possibility and potentiality; Movement Towards Diminishing Object implies a notion of progress and endeavour. It takes on an existentialist tone, highlighting one’s need to create meaning and to persist in the face of possible failure, absurdity or alienation.

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About The Artist

James Balmforth’s works are the outcome of an ongoing exploration and negotiation with materials, processes and transformation. He employs industrial techniques and mechanical apparatus to expose materials to forces such as extreme pressures or heat, evoking material expressivity. With a variety of methods and tools, Balmforth pushes materials to their physical limits and reveals thresholds, margins of tolerance, moments of transformation and their resultant forms or outcomes.

His practice uses sculpture and sculptural processes to draw out threads of material properties and capabilities, exploring symbolic mechanisms and how these can contribute to our ideas about history and society. Preoccupied with notions of limitation, thresholds and degradation, Balmforth’s management of subject and material focuses on the breaking points in a system, material or process and points towards the constructive outcomes of creative anarchy and destruction. By revealing the redemptive potential in collapse and degradation, the artist sees his work as exposing a latent potential, offering an optimistic, rather than fatalistic, worldview.

James Balmforth

Born: 1980

Other Artworks by James Balmforth at CASS

2009

Failed Obelisk

Balmforth's Failed Obelisk redefines our relationship to the obelisk, an object that is synonymous with technical achiev…

2018

Boundary Interface

Through the direct encounter and manipulation of materials and processes, James Balmforth has created a triptych of site…

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