22/12/2010 - 29/01/2011
Galeria Elvira González is pleased to present a selection of works by the american artist Alexander Calder (1898 - 1976). It will exhibit a remarkable selection of his works including mobiles, standing-mobiles, gouaches, wire sculpture and jewelery.
Alexander Calder is one of the most influential artists of the XXth century. His work expanded the boundaries of sculpture. He achived a real revolution of this genre. Movement, lightness, sensibility when using simple materials, the creation of a moving sculpture that needs no pedestal, gravity and balance... These are some of the are pioneering concepts that he developed throughout all his career.
His style is the connection between the sensibility of the international artistic avant-garde and the authentic naivety of an American artist. As James Johnson Sweeney pointed out, Calder was an artist genuinely American, a mixture of perceptiveness and curiosity together with roughness and strenght. His style is pure joie de vivre, sensibility and beauty.
The sense of humor in his works about the circus (wich he began when he first moved to New York in 1923 where he joined the Art Students League) is a perfect example of his high spirit and sense of celebration. One of his first works were the drafts for the Circus of the Ringling Brothres and Barnum and Baily. This would come a fundamental experience for his development as an artist and since then, the circus became a constant theme in his career.
When Calder moves to Paris in 1926, his steel wire works and the Cirque Calder, were the medium to introduce himself into the artistic scene of Paris. Portraits of his friends and well-known characters of the time in wire cable started in this period. Within his friends, artists as Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp and Fernand Léger, among others.
First abstract works were extremely delicate compositions of two or three wire elements and small wood spheres describing spherical or triangular spaces sculpture. These drove him in 1932 to create works with a system of cranks named “mobiles” by Marcel Duchamp. Calder declared “ I’ve always liked to do small works with my hands. One day when I went to visit Mondrian, and when I saw his canvas, I felt like doing animated painting. Forms moving. He also experimented with non-moving abstract forms creating works named stabiles by the artist Jean Arp.
Calder found the Universe as the inspiration for his works “the shape´s sense which underlies in my work has been the Universe´s system…..the idea of floating bodies in the space, of different sizes and densities, and different colours and temperatures……… it looks to me the ideal source of the shapes”.
In 1937 he had his first solo show at Pierre Matisse Gallery “Stabiles and Mobiles”. Calder defined the concept of his works: Why art has to be static? What you see is an abstraction, sculpted or painted, a highly passionated combination of planes, spheres, nucleus, without the minimum meaning. It might be perfect, but it will always remain moveless. The next in sculpture is movement.
Even though Calder is mostly known as sculptor, he painted gouaches since the very beginning and continued this activity through all his career. As he declared, he enjoyed painting gouaches because of the speed it offered and the surprises that the medium provided. Calder’s gouaches, apparently simple, are works joyously conceived, firmly structured and brilliantly coloured.
Very early in his career he also had important commissions for public spaces. The Mercury Fountain for the Spanish Pavillion at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1937 and the mobile Lobster Trap and Fish Tail, for the stairwell at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
One of his first monumental commissions of architectonic scale date from 1953. The Sculpture for Rosenhof wich the model is featured in the exhibition, was first conceived for a public garden in Hamburg for the Rosenhof family with a size of 25 feet high. The nature of his abstract compositions along with the materials and construction allowed the idea of abstraction to expand beyond the gallery space, the studio or the museum, being very important for the development of public and monumental art.
During the fifties Calder achieved enormous recognition as one of the leading artists of his generation and had various museums exhibitions within Europe and the United States. He continued to do mobiles and other works that were at once lyrical inventions, technical, almost mathematic compositions; and the sensuos symbols of nature.
In 1976, the year of his decease, the Whitney Museum of American Art had a large retrospective exhibition of his work. Calder dies at 78 and is considered one of the most prolific artists of his generation.
Over the last decade important exhibitions of the artist have been shown, highlighting the following;
2000. Iwaki City Art Museum de Japón: Alexander Calder. Motion and Color
2001. Modern Art Museum, Toyama, Japón
2003. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: Calder. La gravedad y la gracia
2004. Reina Sofia Museum: Calder. La gravedad y la gracia
2006. The Pace Wildenstein Gallery: Calder. From Model to Monument y Calder. Gouaches
2006. San Francisco Moma: The Surreal Calder
2008. Moma, Nueva York
October 2008 – February 2009 . Whitney Museum of American Art, Nueva York
March – July 2009. Centre Pompidou, Paris: Calder. Les annés parisiennes. 1926-1933
2010. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago: Alexander Calder. Form, Balance, Joy
This is the first solo show of the american artist presented at the Galería Elvira González and it will be on the gallery until end of January.