Alexander Calder – Great Yellow Sun
Tel Aviv Museum of Art – Until August 15, 2021 Tel Aviv (Israel)
American-born artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976). One of the most fascinating figures of modern art of the twentieth century, developed her artistic language in New York and Paris in the interwar period. His work emerged alongside avant-garde notions of surrealism. Dada and abstraction. Yet he has developed a unique style of his own.
The exhibition offers a glimpse into Calder’s world through works he has created in various media. Spanning more than five decades of his career. The first pencil drawings, made in 1925. One of his very last mobiles, created in 1976, the year of his death. The title of the exhibition, Great Yellow Sun (taken from one of his gouaches), reflects three significant elements of his abstractions. Scale, color and shape. The reference to the sun also suggests another stimulating reading of the artist’s production. Calder’s work can be seen as an exploration of energetic forces. It combines aesthetics and the fourth dimension with scientific knowledge of physics. Mathematics and mechanics. Asked about the way art is made, Calder replied: “Outside of volumes, of movement, of spaces delimited by large space, the universe”.
The exhibition focuses on a lesser-known part of Calder’s production. His gouache paintings. Gouaches, a medium he began to explore in the 1940s. It has become one of his most prolific works. They were rarely a complement to his sculptural works, and were not preparatory drawings or exercises in color or iconography. Rather, it was an independent practice within Calder’s work. Throughout his career, has been marked by constant transitions from two-dimensional forms to three-dimensional forms and vice versa. The wide range of gouaches presented in the exhibition express two contrasting aspects of his work. The creation of multiplicity and variability, while maintaining stylistic consistency and consistency.
The qualities of gouache paint as a quick-drying medium with high opacity allowed Calder a great deal of freedom to experiment. Immediacy and impulsiveness. The paintings represent basic shapes (circles, triangles, spirals). Alongside primitive symbols (sun, moon, stars). Elements of ancient civilizations (masks, pyramids, boomerangs) and motifs from nature (flowers, butterflies, sea creatures). Using minimalist means, this vocabulary of simple images and a palette of bright colors and black and white. Calder returned to the simplicity of the fundamentals, both current and metaphysical. This can be seen as an expression of his desire to find a place of innocence and primitive existence that is not yet shaped by knowledge. Culture and self-awareness.
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