In light of the new Tate Modern exhibition in celebration of the works of Alexander Calder, it’s of course only apt to make this week’s Piece Of The Week a Calder.
Calder can be credited with creating the mobile. In art, this is a type of kinetic art that requires intricate balancing and suspending and moves with every small gush of wind.
Calder was inspired to create kinetic art after a visit to Piet Mondrian’s studio. It encouraged him to finally make the leap into ‘pure abstraction’ after Mondrian. However, unlike Mondrian, Calder saw the paintings and wondered what they would be like if they were ‘alive’. Perhaps it is Calder’s training as a mechanical engineer that gave the idea that art could also become engineered, in a move away from traditional painting and sculpture.
To choose a piece from such a huge portfolio is difficult to say the least. However, after much internal debate and deliberation, I want to introduce you to Calder’s Lobster Trap And Fish Tail as this week’s Piece Of The Week.
Lobster Trap And Fish Tail is a mobile piece, the meticulously engineered and designed piece hangs above spectators. With every movement in the room the piece moves along with it. The reason why Lobster Trap And Fish Tail is such a successful piece of kinetic art is because of the subject matter: Because the piece is inspired by ocean creatures, when it moves, it reflects the movements of the ocean. The piece is both whimsical and interesting, but whilst it’s whimsical it’s also meticulously engineered to a hugely precise level. In a way, the piece is a marriage of the playful and the scientific sides of art. It goes to show that sometimes the serious and the playful can go hand in hand, with the piece’s frivolous nature also showing the truly scientific nature of the creation of artworks.
Calder’s work is delicate, and beautiful, it creates a sense of fleetingness. But it should be remembered that Calder’s work is also a feat of engineering and innovation. To truly appreciate Calder’s work, head down to the Tate Modern from now until April 3rd 2016 and see his works dance in front of you.