With every single step we experience physical balance. Unless we trip, the moments of imbalance, which unquestionably alternate with moments of its opposite, remain unnoticed. With what we call inner balance or harmony things are not quite as automated. Sometimes we tumble for a while before we regain stability. It appears that harmony—in our movements and our lives—can only be attained by undergoing times and moments of disharmony.
Mexican artist and designer Joel Escalona has created 10 beautiful objects that challenge the laws of equilibrium. His stacks of bowls visualise instants of balance and thus the perpetual presence of imbalance. To himself the project seems to mark an end to a life-long search:
All my life I had been looking for balance failing miserably. Balance between love and apathy, between my friends and my family, between disinterest and obsession, between what I want and what I really need. Obsessed with the search for harmony in my life, I unexpectedly found it in my passion: creation.
Apart from being a portfolio of Joel’s work, Balance is a sample of the capacity of the Mexican industry and craftsmanship. The 10 pieces are made of 10 different materials: marble, silver, glass, ceramic, copper, clay, wood, lava stone, obsidian, and pewter. Each piece was produced by different Mexican artists and craftsmen using different traditional trades, craft techniques and Mexican industrial technologies. While the pewter piece, for example, was produced in the vitrifying facilities of CINSA, where thousands of pots and pans are manufactured daily, the copper piece was moulded by hammering in the hands of a single craftsman named Napoleon.
By creating objects that capture moments of balance Joel directs our attention towards the fragility and ephemerality of things. Interestingly, their harmony and wit make the fragile seem stable and the ephemeral long-lasting.