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1936, Alexander Calder; wire, wood, rod, lead, paint; collection of the Calder Foundation, New York (AB image)

“The tightrope in this work is stretched between two irregular wooden forms set on metal tripod bases and provides the crossing for a procession of four objects made out of thin, white-painted wire: a spiral (or helix); a sphere consisting of two intersecting circles; three circles stacked on top of each other; and a U-shape (or parabola). Each element balances and pivots by virtue of tiny lead weights. The biomorphic and geometric shapes evoke a circus act, walking a tightrope between reality and abstraction, as well as stillness and movement – all were integral to Calder’s inventive process.” (exhibition placard)

Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor National Gallery of Victoria 5 April – 4 August 2019