Born into a family of
artists, American sculptor Alexander Calder was encouraged to make his own art
early on in his life. When he was only 10 years old, Calder
unveiled two sculptures to his parents – a little dog and a duck – both cut from a
brass sheet and bent into shape. However, it was only in the fall of 1931
that he started experimenting with kinetic sculptures, paving the way to a new
form of sculpture. His friend Marcel Duchamp, also an artist, dubbed them
“mobiles” – a word that in French stands both for “motion” and “motive”.
The mobiles, initially operated by motors to induce movement, were soon left to fly in the air on their own, as a result of their light, simple, abstract forms reacting to air currents. The mobiles were the first sculptures in art history to be hanging from the ceiling and forever changed the idea of what a sculpture can be, breaking with centuries’ tradition of heavy materials like bronze and marble.
Image: Alexander Calder, Untitled. Source: https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/739