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Alexander Calder

Calder brings the abstract to life at the Guggenheim Bilbao

Five-decades of art will be on display before travelling on to Madrid

In 1932 Alexander Calder asked: “Why must art be static? You look at an abstraction, sculptured or painted, an entirely exciting arrangement of planes, spheres, nuclei, entirely without meaning. It would be perfect but it is always still. The next step in sculpture is motion.” The kinetic potential of art was of primary interest to Calder throughout his career. Employing the language of abstraction, Calder captured movement through a range of structures, as in, for example “The ‘y’” (below) that offered radical alternatives to the prevailing notions of sculpture and profoundly impacted the history of 20th-century art. This exhibition (until 7 October) traces the development of the artist’s unique vision through a selection of more than 65 sculptures created over his five decades of involvement with abstract form. The exhibition evidences how Calder’s desire to create an art that would resonate with life led to a constant engagement with the pull of gravity, the circulation of air, and the play of chance. The exhibition is curated by Carmen Giménez and Alexander S.C. Rower, and travels to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid later this year (18 November-18 February 2004).

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Calder in Bilbao'