A master of many materials and techniques, Alexander Calder created a diverse body of work that represents a career-long interest in voids and volumes. Calder’s experience as an artist with a direct and intuitive process gave him the unique skills to imagine and create new forms of art that radically alter our experience of space. His revolutionary techniques allowed him to suspend his ‘mobiles’ from ceilings and create ‘stabiles’ of immense complexity.
‘Untitled’ (1976) captures the energy of Calder’s earliest creations on the monumental scale of his mesmerizing late works. Recalling the complex performers of his celebrated ‘Cirque Calder’, the grand figure of ‘Untitled’ welcomes the viewer with outstretched arms, as if suspended in a moment of action. Calder created fantastical sculptures with multiple legs and arms for his Critter series in 1974. Transporting the exuberance and enchanting theatricality of the series outdoors, ‘Untitled’ balances on three colossal legs in high heels.
An extraordinary conflation of the myriad movements that burgeoned alongside Calder’s idiosyncratic practice, ‘Untitled’ is a testament to his exceptional artistic vision. Like his earliest anthropomorphic stabiles, ‘Untitled’ and the Critter series highlight the artist’s close connection to Surrealism. Calder’s organic forms and imaginative creatures resonate with elements of Surrealist works by Hans Arp, Joan Miró, and Yves Tanguy.
A remarkable feat of both precision and ingenuity, ‘Untitled’ was fabricated with similar techniques as the Critters. Made out of Calder’s favored medium, large plates of sheet metal were cut according to the artist’s instructions and then welded and bolted together. Perfectly balanced, both elegant and exotic at once, ‘Untitled’ exemplifies Calder’s aim to imbue inanimate materials with extraordinary life.
Vieux Chalet in Gstaad is open by appointment over the summer months, presenting works by leading artists and estates. Also in Gstaad, we are presenting works by American artist Paul McCarthy in ‘Alpine Stories and other Dystopias’ at Tarmak 22. Contact us to make an appointment.
Images: Alexander Calder, Untitled, 1976. Installation view, Gstaad, Switzerland © 2020 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jon Etter; Calder working on ‘Swizzle Sticks’ (1936) in his New York City storefront studio, 1936 © 2020 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Herbert Matter; Installation view, ‘Calder: Crags and Critters’, Galerie Maeght, Paris, 1975 © 2020 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy Calder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, New York.