A suspended anamorphic neuron sculpture by Ralph Helmick at MIT's McGovern Institute.


There’s a new focal point at the McGovern Institute and it’s called Schwerpunkt. From the German word meaning “main focus” or “focal point,” Schwerpunkt is a suspended anamorphic neuron sculpture by Ralph Helmick.

Anamorphosisis a distorted image that becomes recognizable only when viewed from a particular point. The word anamorphosis originates from the Greek words anamorphoun (to transform) and morphe (form, shape). Examples of anamorphic art date back to the early Renaissance, with Leonardo’s Eye (Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1485) being the first example of perspective anamorphosis in modern times.

In Schwerpunkt, one hundred gold neurons seemingly float at random above the McGovern Institute lobby and make a beautiful transformation at the focal point on the third floor atrium level. This sculpture is made possible by a gift from Hugo Shong in memory of Patrick J. McGovern.

Photos from the June 28 opening of Schwerpunkt may be viewed below.