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Alexander Calder with Snow Flurry I 1950; sheet metal, wire and paint; collection of MoMA, New York; image published by Independent (UK), 15 November 2015, courtesy of Dominique Lévy, NY

Imagine the calming sight of white discs rotating, seemingly at random, yet all held by an (almost) invisible attraction in the spaciousness of space. Sounds like a minimalist version of the beginning of a snowstorm, doesn’t it? Although this may be the origin, the technicalities of Snow Flurry, a mid-20th century series of mobiles made with sheet metal, wire and paint, are most assuredly something that only Alexander Calder could have combined and constructed.


Scientific developments occurring around that time - not limited to: The Big Bang Theory, LP (long playing) Records, Field-Sequential Colour System, Tornado Forecasting and Jan Oort’s Postulation of The Existence of An Orbiting Cloud of Planets at The Outermost Edge of The Solar System – may have influenced Calder. Or maybe not.

What I do know is two in the series which I have experienced* are unforgettable. They both became part of a single neuron, connected to personal memories of snowflakes / ideas / companions gathered together in one fleeting flurry.


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

*Snow Flurry III 1948, at NGV’s recent survey exhibition in Melbourne, and, my favourite, Snow Flurry I 1950 at a MoMA/NY travelling show a few years ago in Perth