Alexander Calder: Primary Motions

Alexander Calder

Dominique Lévy, London

April 29 - September 1, 2015

Press Release

Alexander Calder: Primary Motions (2015), presented by Dominique Lévy, London, displayed a single dynamic work by the American artist measuring more than two meters high by four meters long as a transatlantic response to Alexander Calder: Multum in Parvo—an exhibition of more than forty of Calder’s small-scale works on view at the same time in New York.

Encompassing the entire gallery floor at 22 Old Bond Street, the larger-than-life Blue and Yellow Among Reds (1964) hovers above the viewer, consuming the space with a spirited interplay of red, blue, yellow, black, and white. The carefully selected color scheme features predominantly bright red circular elements, including two large vertical circles framing the entire mobile, and a scattering of four suspended circles drifting in the center of the work. There is a tier of one white and three black elements, and the remaining two accent the palette, as noted in the title, with sky blue and golden yellow. The circular elements slowly dance from the ceiling, their connecting wires twisting under and over each other while retaining a sense of balance. By working with primary colors and black and white in an asymmetrical distribution, Calder created points of reference to trace the movement of the mobile and emphasize the formal elements of physicality and aesthetics in the structure.

Calder produced his first abstract kinetic sculptures in the early 1930s after a visit to Piet Mondrian’s studio. By the 1950s, spurred by wide public recognition and increased demand for public commissions, Calder began creating awe-inspiring mobiles of an ever-growing scale. Blue and Yellow Among Reds is a distinguished example of these immense structures. Though grand in size, it retains a sense of refinement in its delicate wires and gentle movement. This paradox of monumentality in air creates an astonishing display, with the work’s larger elements almost appearing to float in mid-air overhead. Impressive, dynamic, and playful, this vibrant mobile captures Calder’s universe, his ebullient personality, and great imagination.