Cecil Balmond - Unfolding New Dimensions
Text: Christian Brensing
Cecil Balmond has been a structural engineer with Arup for 41 years. His thinking and working methods are however often very different from those practised by “normal” structural engineers. Perhaps this is attributable to his international past involving Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Great Britain. A record of direct as well as certainly inspiring cooperation with remarkable personalities such as Ove Arup, James Stirling and Rem Koolhaas is however also very likely to have increased his sensitivity and horizon with regard to design. A current exhibition at the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art provides a fundamental insight into the world of Cecil Balmond.
The exhibition is pided into a series of three rooms presenting Balmond`s thoughts genealogically from first abstract mathematical concepts (Room I: Rainbow), to associative and meditative sequences of dancing algorithms (Room II: Fractal) and finishing with realised projects (Room III: Practice). The structure of the first room is based on six sequences illustrating the inpidual mantras of Balmond`s INFORMEL philosophy: numbers, geometry, proportion, evolution of form, time and equilibrium. Reference to all areas of cultural history is made in each sequence, including numerous cross-references to music, poetry and art. After this didactically demanding section, the visitor enters a darkened room with complex structures called fractals projected on the walls providing unambiguous proof that the dry and abstract theory of Balmond?s mathematical universe is charged with pulsating rhythms. An illustration of realised projects is presented in the third and largest room of the exhibition with the aid of charts, models and several 1:1 presentations. Visitors recognise that Balmond is not only a gifted theoretician, but also someone who likes to play with and design patterns (as opposed to “ornaments”).
Until 21 October 2007, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark http://www.louisiana.dk