Exquisite mobile by Alexander Calder
I went to a wonderful exhibit recently at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I toured the display of Alexander Calder’s airy, magical mobiles and was transported into a fairyland. For those few moments, I forgot about the crushing heat here in Los Angeles; my personal issues and anxieties; the world and its demands. I hung out with Calder’s gifts to us all. The mobiles float, they waver, they tremble–like the fragile human beings we all are.
One had this description written by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1963 after a visit to Calder’s studio: “Although Calder has not sought to imitate anything…his mobiles are at once lyrical inventions, technical, almost mathematical combinations and the tangible symbol of Nature, of that great, vague Nature that squanders pollen and suddenly causes a thousand butterflies to take wing, that Nature of which we shall never know whether it is the blind sequence of causes and effects or the timid, endlessly deferred, rumpled and ruffled unfolding of an Idea.”
Calder, who studied mathematical engineering as a young man, died in 1976. I was in my thirties then.
The lesson I took away: enjoy the natural and man-made beauty around you. It transports you for an instant and enables you to jump off that merry-go-round that is your life and focus on something other than your own, self-involved self.
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