ST. MORITZ.- Hauser & Wirth
is presenting a solo exhibition of works by Alexander Calder for its second winter season in St. Moritz. The presentation comprises a selection of the artists mobiles, stabiles, standing mobiles, paintings, and a monumental outdoor sculpture, spanning the 1940s to the 1970s. The pieces on view reflect Calders direct and innovative approach to art-making, whereby he cultivated a practice that not only explored multiple dimensions but also oscillated between the monumental and the intimate. The show in St. Moritz sees Calder return to the Swiss mountains following Hauser & Wirths exhibition of large-scale outdoor sculptures, Calder in the Alps, in Gstaad during 201617.
Calder was one of the most influential and pioneering artists of the 20th-century, transforming the very nature of sculpture by introducing the fourth dimension of time into art and the actuality of real-time experience into his work. A master of many materials and techniques, Calder created a diverse body of work that ranged from sculpture and painting to works on paper, jewellery, and domestic objects. Calders innovative mobiles and stabiles solidified his place in the canon of 20th-century art. His unique exploration of abstractionengaging energetic forces, sculpting volumes out of voidsresulted in objects that radically alter our experience of space.
An entirely new art form created by Calder in 1931, the mobile gained its name from the artists friend Marcel Duchamp, who was referencing the words double meaning in French of both motion and motive. Undulating in the airs currents and suspended from the ceiling or a base, these works unfold in a perpetual present. Jean-Paul Sartre described the mobile in 1946 as an object defined by its movement and non-existent without it; a flower that withers as soon as it comes to a standstill; a pure stream of movement in the same way as there are pure streams of light. Of the artists signature mobiles on view in St. Moritz are Untitled (c. 1942), a light-reflecting work whose unpainted elements emanate radiant energy, and White Ordinary (1976), created in the last year of Calders life. A number of standing mobiles are being presented as well, among them Untitled (c. 1940), in which Calder engaged the immaterial notion of sound, and Franji Pani (1955), made by the artist in a makeshift studio at the home of architect Gira Sarabhai in Ahmedabad, India.
Calders stabilesa term coined by Jean Arp for Calders stationary works in 1932transcend their static nature by way of the dramatically diverse forms they embody when viewed from different perspectives. Works like 7 Legged Beast (maquette, c. 1965) and Sun and Mountains (maquette, c. 1965), while entirely nonobjective, embody an innate energy akin to forces of nature, echoing the breathtakingly varied viewpoints of the gallerys alpine surroundings. A key monumental stabile has been installed outside of the gallery in St. Moritz, bringing the exhibition into the main square of the town. Untitled (1976) is an extension of Calders Critter series from 1974, of which otherworldly figures adopt turbulent postures and characteristics such as multiple arms or legs. By far the largest example from the series, Untitled is a grand and exotic creature that stands over 17-feet-tall.
The exhibition in St. Moritz also includes a selection of Calders oil paintings and gouaches from 19471975, an essential if lesser-known element of his oeuvre. While they utilise a complementary visual language, Calders oil paintings often appear more deliberately rendered than his gouaches, whose quick execution and fluid compositions align with the artists primary subject of kinetic energy. In some of these works, Calder used similar forms to those found in his three-dimensional work, such as Untitled (1975), which resonates with the monumental motorised Universea commission for the Sears Tower in Chicago completed the year prior and in turn marries the implied motion of his brushstrokes to the actual movement of his sculpture.
Calder is the first of three exhibitions by Hauser & Wirth across two alpine locations this winter season. Following the presentation in St. Moritz, a solo show by Jenny Holzer, titled Jenny Holzer. A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE, opened at Tarmak 22 in Gstaad and coincides with the unveiling of new, large, poetic scrolling texts onto the stately Gstaad Palace from 27 December 2019 until 22 January 2020. Also in Gstaad will be a major presentation of Picassos ceramic works alongside photographs taken of the artist in his studio by David Douglas Duncan at Le Vieux Chalet, open from 1 February through to the 22 February 2020 (open to the public on Wednesdays and Thursdays 2 5 pm and by appointment).