Calder Foundation

Featured Text

Que ça bouge—À propos des sculptures mobiles

Alexander Calder

Manuscript, 8 March 1932. Calder Foundation, New York. Translation courtesy Calder Foundation, New York.

Les différents objets de l’univers peuvent être constants, quelquefois, mais leurs relations réciproques varient toujours.

Il y a des milieux qui paraissent rester fixes tandis que de petits évènements se produisent à grande vitesse à travers eux. Ils le paraîssent seulement parce qu’on ne s’aperçoit que de la mobilité des petits évènements

Nous remarquons le déplacement des automobiles et des êtres dans la rue, mais nous ne remarquons pas que la terre tourne. Nous croyons que les automobiles vont à une grande vitesse sur un sol fixe ; pourtant la vitesse de rotation de la surface du globe, à l’équateur, est 40000 km par 24 heures.

Comme l’art vraiment sérieux doit être d’accord avec les grandes lois et non pas seulement avec les apparences, dans mes sculptures mobiles j’essaie de mettre en mouvement tous les éléments

Il s’agit d’harmoniser ces déplacements, atteignant ainsi une possibilité neuve de beauté.

It Shall Move—On Mobile Sculptures

The various objects of the universe may be constant, at times, but their reciprocal relationships always vary.

There are environments that appear to remain fixed whilst there are small occurrences that take place at great speed across them. They appear so only because one sees nothing but the mobility of the small occurrences.

We notice the movement of automobiles and beings in the street, but we do not notice that the earth turns. We believe that automobiles go at a great speed on a fixed ground; yet the speed of the earth’s rotation at the equator is 40,000 km every 24 hours.

As truly serious art must follow the greater laws, and not only appearances, I try to put all the elements in motion in my mobile sculptures.

It is a matter of harmonizing these movements, thus arriving at a new possibility of beauty.

Featured Texts 45

Calder, Alexander. “Comment réaliser l’art?Abstraction-Création, Art Non Figuratif, no. 1 (1932).

Magazine

Calder, Alexander. “Un ‘Mobile.’” Abstraction-Création, Art Non Figuratif, no. 2 (1933).

Magazine

Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Modern Painting and Sculpture: Alexander Calder, George L.K. Morris, Calvert Coggeshall, Alma de Gersdorff Morgan. Exhibition catalogue. 1933.

Alexander Calder, Statement

Group Exhibition Catalogue

Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York. Mobiles by Alexander Calder. Exhibition catalogue. 1934.

James Johnson Sweeney, Mobiles by Alexander Calder

Solo Exhibition Catalogue
Related Timeline
1930–1936 Shift to Abstraction

Following a visit in October of 1930 to Piet Mondrian’s studio, where he was impressed by the environmental installation, Calder made his first wholly abstract compositions and invented the kinetic sculpture now known as the mobile. Coined for these works by Marcel Duchamp in 1931, the word “mobile” refers to both “motion” and “motive” in French. He also created stationary abstract works that Jean Arp dubbed “stabiles.”