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Wire wonder

3 March 2020

Year 7 artists have been inspired by the work of an acclaimed American sculptor to produce their own pieces of art.

Alexander Calder is best known for his innovative mobiles, which were kinetic sculptures powered by motors or air currents. While living in Paris in the 1920s, he used simple, available materials, like wire, wood, metal, cloth, cork, fabric, and string, to ingeniously construct animals, clowns, and acrobats. These tiny figures and props would become his most beloved piece - Calder’s Circus.

Subject Leader Art, Ms Chance, explained: “After examining Calder’s work, our pupils experimented with different techniques using wire to construct figures of their own, learning how to create the strength, flexibility and balance needed to allow their creations to sit or stand without assistance.

“Our pupils then worked collaboratively in groups, joining their figures into various circus acts, as modelled in Calder's work. All enjoyed the lesson, with both Omarion and Reno commenting on how nice it was to work together and learn from each other.”  

Calder's art can be found in many permanent collections, while Calder’s Circle is housed at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In total, the circus consists of an elaborate troupe of over 70 miniature figures and animals, nearly 100 accessories such as nets, flags, carpets, and lamps, and more than 30 musical instruments, phonographic records, and noisemakers.

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