Art: Delicate Balance

Stonestacking by Shane Hart.(November 2009) Viewers don’t usually notice. Shane Hart is at odds with the laws of physics, more precisely: with the laws of gravity, which are responsible for the Newtonian apple falling to the ground instead of floating in space.

Shane Hart plays tricks on this most elementary yet mysterious pull of gravity and coaxes chunks of rock to remain balanced on top of one another despite minuscule and unstable points of contact. He calls his work „Upala Yoga“, translated from Sanskrit and meaning „Stone-Yoga“.

Characteristic of his art is the improvised and temporary nature of the balance of forces. If a tower collapses while being stacked because a chunk lost its balance, then…

… Shane Hart laughs heartily (pun intended) and starts stacking all over again. And, if at the end of the day no little breeze caused the towers to collapse, then he helps restore the natural state.

Weekdays Hart is ecology-product manager and father of three. He lives in Bellingham, a small town in the US-State of Washington on the Pacific Coast. Saturdays he likes to meditate on the beach, that is to stack chunks of rock. Of late he is often invited to perform happenings publicly.

When viewers disperse after one of these performances, they sometimes utter bits of insight gained, such as that nothing can be held onto forever, or as philosophers say, everything is in flow.

Or: it takes hours to build something, but only a second to destroy.

Shane Hart

Photos: Paul Gregory Newman