In my article on CY Twombly a few weeks back I promised that I’d explore the works of Alexander Calder sometime in the near future. That day is today, I’m going to shed some thoughts on the individual, why he inspired me and also use this post to present some wonderful works that he’s created in the past.
His mobiles were what really struck a chord with me, I saw a selection at the Tate Modern in London a few years back and I instantly fell in love. I’m a man for geometrics and grid work and to me Alexander Calder has a real eye for this with his mobiles. Impressive that from whatever angle you look at them they look aesthetically pleasing on the eye. They’re also interesting, exciting and playful, something you see with a lot of the great designers such as Alvar Aalto and the Eames. They don’t take themselves too seriously and like to experiment, this is where Alexander comes into his own.
Calder always wanted to mix motion and sculpture into one, something that hadn’t really been explored at the time, through this experimentation he came up with the idea for the mobile. The early versions which are just free hanging in open air, the best and purest forms in my opinion, date all the way back to the early 1930’s. It’s interesting to think that all this work in the art world ended up being inspired by his earlier life studying engineering and working as an automative and hydraulics engineer. By marrying and merging these two passions he came up with this whole new art form for creatives to explore.
I think it’s important to appreciate the buildings and interiors in their minimal form, but without objects and sculptures like these it’s hard to inject life into a space that could become dead and cold. Obviously Calder’s works sell for millions these days so it’s going to be near impossible to pick one up, saying that there are many other alternatives out there and it would even be possible to experiment with metal materials yourself.
One final note, I remember reading a little while back about how the Eameses swapped an Alexander Calder mobile for a pair of wooden leopards that sat on their bookcase with filmmaker and artist Billy Wilder. Pretty crazy if you ask me. If you’d like to see more of Alexander’s works I would reccomend the Guggenheim, Gagosian or the Calder Foundation via the link below.