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08 Dec 2018
© 2018 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Calder: Nonspace

‘The thing that is so striking about Calder is how misunderstood he is. That is what this show is about.’ Alexander S. C. Rower, president of the Calder Foundation and grandson of the artist, introduces ‘Calder: Nonspace’ at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, alongside architect and designer Stephanie Goto. An exhibition of primarily monochromatic, abstract sculptures that create volumes out of voids, this the gallery’s first exhibition in Los Angeles devoted to renowned artist Alexander Calder (1898 – 1976), organized in collaboration with the Calder Foundation, New York.

‘Calder: Nonspace’ takes its title from a 1963 essay by American novelist James Jones. Upon encountering a series of large-scale sculptures at the artist’s studio in Saché, France, Jones remarked, ‘[Calder] is willing to believe equally in a nonspace as well as in space. Because of this, his stabiles (and his mobiles as well) are able to fill a given space without occupying it …. He has taken a given space and, by molding beautiful elements of steel around it, caused it to become nonspace.’ Calder’s deep understanding of architectural and natural environments enabled him to reorder a viewer’s perception of the world around it. In thus challenging key tenets of modernist abstract art, he has significantly influenced generations of artists into the present day.

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Installation view, ‘Calder: Nonspace’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018 © 2018 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

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Installation view, ‘Calder: Nonspace’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018 © 2018 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

‘There are many sculptures that have holes in them and that disparity creates a portal—a dynamic entry to otherness. Those spaces give you the chance to consider these other dimensional experiences, going through that space into another plane, existence, feeling, idea, circumstance.’

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Installation view, ‘Calder: Nonspace’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018 © 2018 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Works on view fill the South Gallery, central open-air courtyard, and planted garden with thirty stabiles, mobiles, and standing mobiles weaving through a specially-designed environment created by Stephanie Goto. This unique installation has been conceived to reveal the sculptures’ subtleties and intuitive spatial relationships. ‘Calder: Nonspace’ also features five large-scale outdoor sculptures, transforming the industrial landscape of the Arts District into an oasis for contemplation of Calder’s monumental vision.

One of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Calder transformed the very nature of sculpture with his invention of the mobile, introducing the fourth dimension of time and the actuality of real-time experience into the realm of sculpture. His prolific artistic output extended to wire sculpture, carved figures, stabiles, standing mobiles, oil paintings, works on paper, jewelry, furniture, and domestic objects, and grew to encompass monumental public commissions across the globe.

‘Calder: Nonspace’ is on view at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles through  6 January 2019. 

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