Referencing the tragic Greek myth of Marsyas, a young satyr flayed alive by the god Apollo, the sculpture Marsyas is as corporeal and tangible as the fate of its namesake. Designed in collaboration with Anish Kapoor, Marsyas was commissioned for the Tate Modern, London, as part of its Turbine Hall Unilever Series. Standing ten storeys high and reaching 150m long, it is the first to make use of the space entirely.
Born from lengthy discussions between Balmond and Kapoor on the difference in ‘shape’ and ‘form’, the ambition feeding the realisation of Marsyas was to test the limit of fabric, create a levitating structure in space that enabled visitors to, quite literally, enter the void. Consisting of three steel rings joined together by a single span of specially-designed blood red PVC membrane, the origin of the physics of Marsyas emerged from Balmond being inspired by the behaviour of tension fibres within biological cells. Infiltrating physical and psychological space, Marsyas acts as a portal between real and myth, active and passive, concrete and abstract.