Drawing in the air. Calder.

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“The forces at work are too numerous and complicated for any human mind, even that of their creator, to be able to foresee all their combinations. For each of them, Calder establishes a general fated course of movement, then abandons them to it: time, sun, heat and wind will determine each particular dance.”

Jean-Paul Sartre

Artist of equilibrium, sculptor of mechanical movement, Alexander Calder (USA, 1989-1976) managed to bring dynamism to the abstract art of his age. With his unique vision, Calder creates celebrations for our senses. Because in a circus of elements, wind, colour, light and shade are capable of a sprightly dance, able to make the weightiness of metal disappear. 

Sculptor of movement

During a visit to the studio of his friend Mondrian, Calder noted that, “light came in from the left and from the right, and on the solid wall between the windows there were experimental stunts with coloured rectangles of cardboard tacked on…” That’s where the idea took hold, the need to bring movement to what had so far been immobile through a play of volumes, forces, weights and shapes. 

Cirque Calder

Calder loved the circus. He built miniature rings and invited his friends to the most fascinating show in the world, inhabited by a troupe of tightrope walkers, clowns, animal tamers, jugglers and contortionists. They were created using cables, wool, pieces of cork and cloth; wire became Calder’s paintbrush.

Drawing by hanging pieces in the air

The word “mobile” is charged with hugely significant meanings when it comes to action and interaction: versatile, moveable, fluid, portable, motorised, itinerant, nomadic, adaptable…

Calder created works of his time and for his time, playing with kinetics, searching for fun and emotion in balance and tricks of gravity. Every time one of his mobiles is activated by the wind, Calder invites us to an amazing spectacle on a small-scale, awakening in us the innocence and astonishment of childhood. Emotions that, perhaps, we should never forget.  

Calder´s work can be viewed at The Centro Botín, in the exhibition entitled Calder Stories. The Picasso Museum Málaga, in Calder-Picasso; and in Madrid at Calder. Gouaches hosted by the Elvira González Gallery Gallery; and at Reina Sofía Museum.

Photography: Oscar Rivilla

Translation: Rebekah Jane Rhodes

Music: Dr Symptosizer

Art direction: Oscar Rivilla & Carolina Verd