Bo Boustedt, 'Vers un nouvel Humanisme? Vivre avec la Sculpture', in: XXeme Siècle, no. XXIX, Paris 1967, p. 129, illustrated
Widely recognised as one of the greatest innovators of twentieth century sculpture, Calder was to successfully translate the modernist canon of near abstract composition into three dimensional space with a humour and vitality that was uniquely captured in his perfectly balanced creations.
Recalling in shape and spirit Calder's Paris Circus works of the early 1930s, Le chauve souris is a striking example of the perfection of balance and form. Calder was endlessly fascinated with the circus and its animals and first realized this theme in his 1926 legendary Cirque Calder, where he included miniature elephants, horses, and lions among others, constructed from wire and cloth. He explored the theme of animals in each of the mediums with which he experimented; wood, watercolour, metal, bronze and jewellery, never manifesting literal interpretations of these animals, but instead captured them in harmonious and even comical poses. Calder was mainly attracted to household pets or, as in The Circus, to trained, performing animals and here, their curving forms and playfulness are clearly evident. As Marchesseau notes, "Calder's many animal figures are a continuation of the drawings done in zoos, such as the sketches into which he introduced glancing bits of humour and sly sexual allusions" (Daniel Marchesseau, The Intimate World of Alexander Calder, Paris 1989, p. 157). With its wings outstretched, Le chauve souris is almost personified - standing tall and upright as if as circus performer itself. The intrinsic whimsical presence born into Calder's work has become a hallmark of his stabiles and mobiles and embraces the universe's most elementary principals - fusing together concepts of motion and equilibrium to achieve a state of perfect harmony.
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