Monday, April 26, 2010

ode to Alexander Calder

I attended a lecture by one of my colleagues (an art historian), and I was treated to a discussion of the lovely work by the American artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976).

The second work is titled “Two Systems.”

I think that all of us will recognize this as a mobile.

The mobile has become so common that it’s a cliché hanging over practically every crib in America.

Alexander Calder, the inventor of the mobile, had a deeper vision articulated in the form of the mobile.

The mobile is a representation of reality. The visual image implicates little bits and pieces moving in a playful dance. While everything is carefully balanced, there is a play and fluidity of suspension. Nothing is static; everything is moving.

The very artifact is altered with each spectator, since different bodies will cause the ambient air to brush the mobile into different morphologies, resulting in analogically different morphologies of meaning – quite independent of the artist’s intention. Existence vividly precedes essence.

It’s the perfect collision of surrealism and existentialism.

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