Pace Hong Kong 15C Entertainment Building, 30 Queens Road Central
Opening reception Friday, 27 May, 2016, 6–8 p.m.
2016.05.28 – 07.16
Pace Hong Kong is honored to announce an exhibition of works by Alexander Calder, on view from 28 May through 16 July 2016, with an opening reception for the public on Friday, 27 May, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Alexander Calder transformed the landscape of art with his contributions to sculpture, redefining the traditionally static medium with his kinetic constructions of suspended, abstract forms. He is renowned for his invention of the mobile—a term coined by Marcel Duchamp—in 1931. Rejecting hierarchies of material, Calder used industrial media including wire and sheet metal in his compositional investigations of matter, line and space.
The exhibition will present eleven works, including hanging mobiles, standing mobiles and stabiles, made between 1936 and 1969. During this span of time, Calder was working in his Roxbury, Connecticut, studio—allowing him to work in a larger scale—and traveling internationally, eventually setting up another studio in Saché, France.
The individual abstract forms in Black: Two Dots and Eleven (1958) react to their surrounding environment, emphasizing Calder’s interest in the dynamics of movement in space and the kineticism that underscores much of his practice. Black Areas (1938), a hanging mobile with sheet metal and wood elements painted in black, embodies Calder’s later statement that “the most important thing in a composition is disparity.” The artist’s adherence to a color palette of black and primaries exemplifies a modernist vision that reverberates with the Parisian avant-garde and extends across the works on view, including Bleu, jaune, rouge sur base courbe (1969).
Among the works on view is the large-scale standing mobile The Tree (1960), a garden size version of the monumental work Calder made in 1966 that is in the collection of the Fondation Beyeler. Eschewing strict representation with its simplified forms, the composition incorporates balance and motion, weighted by the triangular vertical “trunk” and using a single horizontal “branch” as a cantilever for the delicate mobile.
A number of Calder’s maquettes are also included in the exhibition. These painted sheet metal works were produced by Calder as a means of contemplating the technical aspects of larger iterations. Maquettes such as Trois pics [maquette] (1967), which was created in preparation for the monumental stabile commissioned for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, Switzerland, reveal Calder’s working process.
The exhibition at Pace Hong Kong follows Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture, a presentation at Tate Modern, London, highlighting the performative aspect of movement in his works. In May, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will inaugurate its permanent Calder gallery with Alexander Calder: Motion Lab, the first in a series of presentations of the artist’s work. Calder’s work will also be featured in the upcoming exhibition Calder & Fischli/Weiss at Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland, which will juxtapose works by Calder in dialogue with those of the Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss.
Alexander Calder (b. 1898, Lawnton, Pennsylvania; d. 1976, New York) is one of the most acclaimed and influential artists of the twentieth century. His wide body of work expands beyond sculpture to include paintings, drawings, prints, book illustrations, jewelry, tapestries, and costume and set designs for ballets and theatrical productions. He received an engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey in 1919 and moved to New York in 1923 to enroll at the Art Students League. In 1926 he traveled to Paris, where he would periodically live and work until 1933, and where he created his fabled Cirque Calder (1926–31). After visiting Piet Mondrian’s studio in 1930, where he was impressed by the environment-as-installation, Calder began experimenting with abstract constructions, exhibiting his first non-objective works in 1931.The following year he showed hand-cranked and motorized mobiles, marking the beginning of his development as a leading exponent of kinetic art. Calder remained committed to abstraction during the 1930s and introduced biomorphic forms into his kinetic sculptures, synthesizing idiosyncratic methods and materials with abstract forms that recall Surrealist imagery. In subsequent years he refined his mobiles, producing elegant, space-encompassing abstractions of gracefully bending wires. In the 1950s he began producing large numbers of stabiles—large-scale constructions made from cut and painted metal sheets—while simultaneously exploring new forms such as Towers (wall-based wire constructions with moving elements) and Gongs (sound-producing metal compositions). During the 1960s and 1970s, Calder created colossal stabiles for public sites around the world, installing works of 45 feet and higher in many American and European cities.
Calder has been the subject of numerous exhibitions at museums worldwide, including retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1943), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1964), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1976 and 2008), and National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1998). Other recent exhibition venues include: Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow; Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Saint Louis, Missouri; Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao.
Pace has represented the artist’s estate since 1984. This is his 12th solo exhibition at Pace, presented with the collaboration of the Calder Foundation, New York.
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