Movement Towards Diminishing Object

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.


About The Artist

Balmforth's work aims to distil concepts and aspects of human experience in deceptively simple forms by exploiting the evocative and analytic potential of material and symbolic structures. In works that often employ mechanical apparatuses to accentuate the primacy of relations of rudimentary materials such as stone and ash, Balmforth reveals the simplicity inherent in elaborate concepts, and the hidden complexities of seemingly straightforward ideas. This engagement with formal and philosophical tensions reveal complexity and simplicity to be mutually dependent rather than diametrically opposed classifications. His practice is concerned with the life, function and potential of material objects. His work often explores how these symbolic relationships contribute to our ideas about history and society. Preoccupied with notions of limitation, degradation and ruin, Balmforth’s manipulation of subject and material simultaneously attempts to expose the failures within established systems and suggest the potential for creative forces born of destruction. Through exposing the redemptive potential in collapse and degradation, the artist sees his work as being the product of an optimistic, rather than fatalistic, worldview. His work also demonstrates an interest in the progress attained through the deconstruction of existing systems and structures, an interest exemplified in Failed Obelisk.

James Balmforth

Born: 1980

Other Artworks by James Balmforth at CASS


Failed Obelisk

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

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