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Marsyas: an extraordinary sculpture

Anish Kapoor’s sculpture created for the Tate Gallery’s Turbine Hall comprises three steel hoops interlinked by a huge Serge Ferrari composite membrane. Two of the hoops are vertically positioned at each end, while the third is suspended parallel to the bridge by the membrane itself. The structure’s geometry is thus formed by these three hoops, which are mutually supported only by the fabric’s tension to span a length of 150 m and a height of 40 m.

A Technical Feat
Marsyas is clad with 4,000m2 of Précontraint 1002 composite material made up into a single, unique piece. To achieve this feat, the cutting and making plans – vying in complexity with the most sophisticated textile architecture creations to form the curves imagined by Anish Kapoor – drew upon the unique advantages of Serge Ferrari’s Précontraint patented manufacturing technology. This ensures the membrane’s dimensional stability and unmatched breaking strength, reproducible in all batches. The composite material’s durability and dimensional consistency guaranteed that the precision required by the artist in technically implementing his creation could be respected to the millimetre.

A Monochromatic Sculpture
Anish Kapoor describes the Serge Ferrari membrane as something like “flayed skin”. His work’s name indeed calls to mind the Greek myth: Marsyas was literally flayed alive by the god Apollo.
The sculpture’s deep red colour, obtained by Serge Ferrari’s R & D department after numerous discussions with the artist, recalls “physical, earthy, bodily” elements. Marsyas therefore confuses spatial perception by immerging the viewer in the monochromatic field intentionally sought by the artist. Moreover, it’s impossible to see the whole sculpture from any one position. The viewer experiences this as a series on individual encounters… he or she has to build up personally the full work.

Marsyas – 2002
Engineering : OVE ARUP UK and TENSYS
Making Up : HIGHTEX
© Photos Monumenta 2011 – Anish Kapoor – Tensinet – Tensys

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