Calder Gallery III at Fondation Beyeler

The third Calder Gallery at Fondation Beyeler has its focus on Alexander Calder’s first nonobjective paintings in dialogue with his sculptures from the 1930s. In this video, Calder Foundation president Alexander S. C. Rower and Fondation Beyeler curator Raphael Bouvier discuss the exhibition for us. The exhibition runs until 6th September 2015.

Calder Gallery III at Fondation Beyeler. Riehen (Basel, Switzerland), June 15, 2015.

PS: Watch also:
Calder Gallery I: Alexander Calder: The New Calder Gallery at Fondation Beyeler.
Calder Gallery II: Calder Gallery at Fondation Beyeler: Trees – Naming Abstraction.

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Exhibition text:

Calder’s largely unknown abstract paintings mark the decisive transition from figuration to abstraction in the artist’s work, and at the same time herald his first abstract sculptures in which he progressively introduced not only actual motion, but also unprecedented concepts such as viewer intervention and sonorous interaction.

Calder moved to Paris in 1926 and in the following years became a fixture in the avant-garde artistic circles that constituted the pulsating centre of Modernism. Calder quickly gained renown for his beloved work of performance art, Cirque Calder, which many of his artist contemporaries came to see, including Piet Mondrian, who reciprocated by opening the doors to his Paris studio in October of 1930. Calder was intrigued by Mondrian’s studio environment, in which every object was aesthetically conceived and intentionally positioned.

Following his visit of Mondrian’s studio, Calder created his first abstract paintings during a two-week period, reducing his pictorial compositions to a few basic components through which he examined elementary spatial relations between form, color, lines, and planes.

In these compositions, a relationship to other modern artists such as Vasily Kandinsky and Jean Hélion are apparent. Calder explored central themes and motifs that he soon transferred to the medium of sculpture, leading to his abstract wire objects, his invention of the mobile in 1931, and his motorized wall panels.

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