The first major UK retrospective of the American sculptor who helped to reshape modernism.

Performance is at the heart of Alexander Calder’s sculpture. Right from the early days of his career – spent in Paris as part of the artistic avant garde – he would create wire portraits of circus characters and put on improvised shows, known as Cirque Calder.

His fascination with the theatrical world continued into the heights of his success, when he pioneered the 'mobile' – a hanging kinetic sculpture stirred by air currents, motors or touch to evoke the movement associated with performing arts. In fact, Calder said he thought of his sculptures as performers in their own right, devised ‘independently of dancers, or without them altogether’.

This exhibition includes a selection of his most significant sculptures which reveal how he drew on movement, choreography and sound to fundamentally transform the principles of modern sculpture. It also charts his important collaborations with choreographers, for whom he designed performance objects, decor, costumes and theatrical spaces.

Tate Modern

Bankside, London, SE1 9TG

020 7887 8888


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Free to all

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