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Myth Interrupted

Myth Interrupted

James Balmforth
Myth Interrupted


Plastic and cast iron

120 x 45 x 59 cm
James Balmforth’s sculptures are self-defeating monuments, icons of failure. An iron griffin, mythic symbol of earthly majesty, has been coated in bright red plastic; one wing has fallen off, revealing a hollow interior eaten away by rust. A dagger, associated with the power to take another life, has a brass handle but a gallium blade; if stabbed into a body the metal would melt, as gallium does on contact with human skin. The use of gallium introduces another significant theme in Balmforth’s work: the hidden life of matter, its secret complexities and failures. The griffin – entitled Myth Interrupted – has a prophylactic red skin, the colour of a postbox or road sign, that both protects and emasculates it. Reduced to a doorstop or garden ornament, the griffin embodies the absence of its mythical origins; a wing gone, it’s reduced to flying in ever-decreasing circles.
Exchange (3/10)

Exchange (3/10)

Exchange (3/10)

Exchange (3/10)

James Balmforth
Exchange (3/10)


Gallium and brass

35 x 5 cm
Likewise the dagger (Exchange 3/10), whose skillful construction – the cross-hatched handle with its delicate pommel – belies its inability to function as designed. Defanged and made a thing to be looked at (made art, in other words) the dagger becomes a metaphor of corrupted value, an element in a debased heraldry, while accruing, as if accidentally, uncanny strength and eloquence as art.

Text by Ben Street

Other artists in
Artists in future exhibitions

Caroline Achaintre    Rebecca Ackroyd    Markus Amm    Helene Appel    Ivan Argote    Dan Attoe    Michael Bauer    Diann Bauer    Dan Bayles    Simon Bedwell    Anna Freeman Bentley    Emilia Bergmark    Katherine Bernhardt    Gabriele Beveridge    Richard Billingham    Gabriella Boyd    Sarah Braman    Matti Braun    Bozidar Brazda    Jonny Briggs    David Brooks    Joey Bryniarska    Agnieszka Brzezanska    Peter Linde Busk    Pierre Carreau    Loz Chalk    Ronin Cho    James Clarkson    Lucy Coggle    Andy Collins    Inez de Coo    Jessica Craig-Martin    Ana Cvorovic    Nathan Cash Davidson    Ian Davis    Nicholas Dedics    Tomory Dodge    Robert Dowling    Stef Driesen    Howard Dyke    Ara Dymond    Judith Eisler    David Ellis    Annabel Emson    Ayan Farah    Carlos Noronha Feio    Dee Ferris    Luc Fuller    Michael Fullerton    Dmitri Galitzine    Julia Goldman    Noémie Goudal    Elias Hansen    Hilary Harnischfeger    Chris Hawtin    Richard Höglund    Kati Heck    Valerie Hegarty    David Herbert    Patrick Hill    Dan Holdsworth    Phillipa Horan    Shara Hughes    David Humphrey    Elliot Hundley    Tom Hunter    Jessica Jackson Hutchins    Merlin James    Tillman Kaiser    Alice Könitz    Scott King    John Korner    Rannva Kunoy    Liane Lang    Molly Larkey    Paul Lee    Andrea Lehmann    Dale Lewis    Juliette Losq    Christina Mackie    Jill Mason    Claire McArdle    Ella McCartney    Lucy McKenzie    Jill McKnight    Martin McMurray    Turay Mederic    Robert Melee    Aleksandra Mir    Ian Monroe    Kristine Moran    Eduard Moreno    Yasumasa Morimura    Luisa Mota    Nick Nowicki    William J. O'Brien    Matt O'dell    Marco Palmieri    Selma Parlour    Oliver Perkins    Marius Pfannenstiel    Benedetto Pietromarchi    Alejandra Prieto    Arthur Prior    Laure Prouvost    Max Prus    Neil Raitt    Sean Raspet    Brian Reed    Florian Roithmayr    Ruth Root    Jessica Sanders    Stefan Sandner    Hideyuki Sawayanagi    Amba Sayal-Bennett    Lara Schnitger    Maaike Schoorel    Anne Kathrin Schuhmann    Michael Schultz    Macrae Semans    Conrad Shawcross    Jamie Shovlin    Agathe Snow    Renee So    Anne Speier    Jeni Spota    Martina Steckholzer    Jack Strange    Miriam Sweeney    Emma Talbot    Mateo Tannatt    Stephanie Taylor    Adam Thompson    Rafal Topolewski    Ryan Trecartin    Nobuko Tsuchiya    Marianne Vitale    Caroline Walker    John Wallbank    Ben Washington    Chuck Webster    Aaron Wexler    Poppy Whatmore    Julia Whiting    Jenny Wiener    Alexi Williams    Susanne M. Winterling    Saskia Olde Wolbers    Jonas Wood    Joel Wyllie     Yeesookyung    Haeri Yoo

James Balmforth's BIOGRAPHY

James Balmforth
Born in 1980, Plymouth, UK
Lives and works in London, UK


Forces and Needs, Hannah Barry Gallery, London, UK

The Making of Ashes, Hannah Barry


Sculpture al Fresco II, Marcelle Joseph Projects, Egham, UK

Let There Be Sculpture!, New Art Centre Roche Court, Wiltshire, UK
Bold Tendencies 4, Peckham, UK
MIART art fair, Milan, Italy
Should I stay or Should I go?, Chelsea Space, London, UK
Subject Matter, Cass Sculpture Foundation, Goodwood, UK

Bold Tendencies 3, Peckham, UK
The Peckham Pavilion, 53rd Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
The Centre of the Universe, Royal College of Art Galleries, London, UK
Event Horizon, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK

Optimism: The Art of Our Time, Hannah Barry Gallery, London, UK
The Elimination of Distance, XVIII Jesus Lane, Cambridge, UK
Death, Take Courage Gallery, London, UK
Bold Tendencies 2, Peckham, UK
Late at Tate !WOWOW! and Plastique Fantastique, Tate Britain, London

Monumental Painting, Sculpture & Film, Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, UK
Experiments With Figuration, Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, UK
Landscape, Film and Photography, Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, UK
Small Painting and Sculpture, Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, UK
Colour and Line, Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, UK
10 Rooms and a Sculpture Garden, Lyndhurst Way, Peckham, UK