Balance – Suspension Points and the Centers of Mass in Abstract Mobile Sculptures

A custom designed mobile for a private residence in Montana in progress:

Photo of Mobile Artist Sculpture

For an element (shape) to be able to balance, the suspension point needs to be above the center of mass. In addition to this requirement, when the center of mass is lower (farther away from the suspension point), the balance will be more stable. Vice versa, when the center of mass is higher (closer to the suspension point), the balance will be more fragile (the element is more likely to overturn):

Image of Abstract Sculpture Balance

Obviously within a mobile, an element might have the weight of several elements that are in the lower part of the mobile attached to it, which lowers the center of of mass. A good example of this can be seen in a large site-specific mobile I was working on for a three story light shaft in Chicago last year:

Photo of Large Abstract Sculpture Balance

In some cases, it might be necessary to raise the suspension point with the help of an extension:

Photo of Large Art Sculpture Balance

© 2017 Marco Mahler