India through the eyes of Alexander Calder

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart on Calder’s unseen India works on display at London’s Ordovas Gallery

Calder in India

Alexander and Louisa Calder in India, 1955. Alexander Calder papers, 1926-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Image Credits:

London: The Ordovas Gallery is currently displaying a selection of works by Alexander Calder, inspired by a trip to India in the mid-1950s. This is a unique opportunity to view works by the artist that have not been exhibited since 1955 (when they were shown at the Bhulabhai Memorial Institute and Jehangir Art Gallery in Bombay), and that have never been shown before in the West.

Calder’s passion for India can be traced back to 1954, when he was invited to the country by Gira Sarabhai and her family to complete a residency at their estate in Ahmedabad, and also to travel and discover the country. The artist worked for three weeks in the studio they especially made for him and then travelled around India and Nepal with his wife, Louisa. During his stay in India, inspired by the different environments and cultures he encountered there, the artist produced nine sculptures and some pieces of jewelry.

Calder in India

Calder in India, installation view.
Image credits: Photography by Mike Bruce © 2012 Calder Foundation, New York / DACS London.

Eight of the nine sculptures created during Calder’s stay are on display in this exhibition. In addition to these works, the piece, Six Moons over a Mountain, which the artist sent to the Sarabhai family before his visit, and Untitled (1952), which was acquired by his hosts earlier, will also be displayed.

Some of the works on display at the Ordovas Gallery resemble the typical mobile sculptures Calder is known for, but this is the first time they are being shown together since they all belong in different private collections. Calder’s innovative sculptures were created by bending and twisting metal wires in order to ‘draw’ three-dimensional figures in space. The mobiles comprise of a group of suspended abstract elements, which harmoniously balance and move together. Sometimes these mobiles seem to dance, and this could be one of the linking threads with India and its graceful dances and vivid colours. Also, the titles of two works, ‘Guava’ and ‘Franji Pani’, seem to reflect Indian flora and landscapes that Calder was responding to.

This is a unique opportunity to see these rare works which reflect in different ways Calder’s vision of India.

More information about the exhibition can be found here.

Calder in India

Calder in India, installation view.
Image credits: Photography by Mike Bruce. © 2012 Calder Foundation, New York / DACS London.

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