Alexander Calder


Born in 1898 in Lownton (United States), died in 1976

Calder's aerial artworks revolutionised the history of art and contemporary music by introducing the notions of indeterminacy and chance. Composers like Earle Brown were invited to create "open works". Alexander Calder spent his life working towards a symbiosis between the acoustic and the visual. Jean-Paul Sartre understood this as early as 1946, when he spoke evocatively of "wind harps", a "little hot jazz" and "lyrical inventions" to describe the mobile, this "object defined by its movement, which has no existence outside itself".


31 janvier, 1950

American painter and sculptor Alexander Calder is best known for his Mobiles, constructions that respond to movements of the wind, which he sees as a manifestation of the life force. In 1932, Alexander Calder exhibited his first motorised works at Galerie Vignon in Paris, with the support of Marcel Duchamp, who coined the name “mobiles” at the time. Poised between balance and imbalance, Calders’ work January 31 resembles a random musical score of shifting forms, suspended in space. Jean-Paul Sartre described Calder’s work in terms of aeolian harps, small bursts of “hot jazz” or “lyric compositions”. The organic quality of Calders’ open forms had a decisive influence on the Brazilian art scene in the 1950s, from the work of Abraham Palatnik, to Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape and Ernesto Neto today.

Centre Pompidou, Paris – Musée national d’art moderne collection




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