Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Alexander Calder - A Tate Triumph

There are few things in this lifetime that can provide so much visual pleasure to so many, in a manner that seems so effortless it brings joy to the senses. But I can heartwarmingly say that the current Alexander Calder exhibition at the Tate Modern, achieves this and more. The show, if you have not yet had the pleasure to experience it, is bewilderingly beautiful. As I write this now, I feel the hairs on my neck and down my spine stand to attention, as if my fight-or-flight response had just materialised, but not to flee, but to bare witness to the poetic fluidity of Calder's world.  

From the moment you enter into the somewhat crowded room, you are immediately struck with a sense of calm, a graceful, almost peaceful aura washes over you as you read the introduction and start to weave through the rooms. Your eyes widening and widening through every exploration of figure, shape, structure and movement. Figures appear out of the walls, spinning and turning with a delicately that is truly stunning. At times it is if you are staring into another world, drop shadowed figures metamorphose right before your very eyes. But all this in the absence of sound. In a day an age that is full of loud, crash, bang, wallops, this silence is a mystifying magic.  

As you meander along the journey, for it really does feel like you are being taken on a superlative tour, more visual pleasures are awaiting you. As the audience glide through the exhibition the works move in tandem, responding to the weight and movement of air which are constantly being created and shifted in what seems spontaneity. But of course, is reactionary to the elegant nature of these works. The environment is so paramount to their movements, it is almost as if the works can not exist alone and us without the works.  

Room by room you are filled with joy as each movement is unique and each weightless in its nature. Spherical shapes, poignant coloured objects all interlinked with blackened wire frame what could be seen as a new galaxy, a scientific experiment, but all we miss are the scribbles of finds on a piece of paper, to the grand scale mobiles that physically leave you breathless. 

Language is powerful, but this exhibit touches your senses, your very humanity in a way that is almost too difficult to describe. It is most certainly one of the best exhibitions I have seen in this country and absolutely a Tate Triumph. 

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