[May 28 2018]
Nestled in a Somerset valley, it was Hauser & Wirth’s old restored barn spaces themselves that kicked off the idea for this show. Inspired by the connections sparked when Calder’s grandson visited the gallery last year, “From the Stony River to the Sky“, attempts to distil something of the bucolic spirit of the artist’s own farm and studio in Roxbury, Connecticut.
The result finds an equilibrium between the Calder of the mega museum and a pleasing emphasis on poking finger-sized holes in the cheesecloth dividing the domestic and the artistic. There’s ample evidence of Calder’s inventive, ever fiddlesome hand wherever you look, from wound-wire zarfs (metal holders for porcelain coffee cups) and an open palm-shaped toilet paper holder, to ‘unspillable’ ashtrays (for the Samba parties held at the farm after the artist’s return from Brazil) and a baby’s rattle recycled from a solid silver Tiffany wedding present.
The sculpture ranges from his first tripod works (complete with legs that are designed to be pushed into Roxbury soil), and found wood sculptures from the 1930s, to sturdier full-size pieces and elegantly imposing sheet-metal maquettes of major works, which are studded through the galleries and gardens. Stuffed with wonder though this show is, there’s also room for some of Calder’s sensual painting practice to shine through. Like the many fine mobiles on show, it’s all caught in a perfect balance.
“From the Stony River to the Sky” is on view until September 9th, 2018 at Hauser & Wirth, Durslade Farm, Dropping Lane, Bruton.
Text and photo Jethro Turner