“Inspired by architect Buckminster Fuller’s interest in the geometry of structure, Snelson’s experiments led to a prototype for a “floating compression structure.” Fuller subsequently credited Snelson with having invented a new structural principle which the architect named tensegrity, a contraction of the words tension and integrity.
These investigations into the physical properties of structure became more fully realized as an art form beginning in the 1950s. Snelson created sculptures consisting of tubes and cables. Cylinders of steel seemingly dance through space in defiance of gravity, yet it is the structural competition between tension and compression which underlies their construction. Snelson finds beauty in bringing these forces of nature into balance: the rigid compression tubes pushing outward, the flexible tension cables pulling inward. His sculptures would maintain their structural integrity beyond gravity, in the vacuum of outer space.” Joelle Burrows