Flying Boomerang

Alexander Calder American

Not on view

In the 1930s Alexander Calder began constructing ingenious abstract compositions that brought dynamism and motion to the formal and rigid language of modernism. Trained as a mechanical engineer, Calder adapted the whippletree mechanism as a balancing structure for his kinetic sculptures. Suspended from the ceiling, these simple, elegant forms constructed of cut sheet metal attached to curved wires, were dubbed "mobiles" by Marcel Duchamp after he visited Calder’s studio in 1931. These sculptures were initially motorized, but Calder quickly became wearisome of the mechanized, repetitive motions, and by 1932 preferred to let the natural changes in the environments generate motion for the works. Flying Boomerang is a prime example of one of Calder’s mobiles. While some of the abstract shapes in Calder’s mobiles have been suggestive of planetary spheres or biomorphic forms, three of the cut metal pieces in Flying Boomerang resemble a boomerang, a throw tool, which is designed so that it returns to the thrower. The aerodynamics that a boomerang alludes, a relay of back and forth moments, are all apiece with Calder’s own preoccupations of bestowing his sculptures with fluidity and dynamism, which is amply demonstrated by the nimble construction of Flying Boomerang.

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