With his mobiles, Calder (American, 1898–1976) animated sculpture, embraced chance as a crucial artistic element, and engaged the viewer in a dynamic dialogue with the ever-evolving artwork. Exploring the concept of metamorphosis while alternating between representation and abstraction, Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) revealed and explored the infinite potential inherent in both styles, often in the same work of art.
The artists’ grandsons Alexander S. C. Rower and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso conceived this exhibition as a compelling conversation between the practices of two artists who were engaged in a lifelong discourse about modernity. Central to the many resonances between the artists’ works are their conceptual and visual explorations of the void, as well as line and volume.
Calder sought to capture the unseen and unknown forces that lie beneath and beyond the three visible physical dimensions, in order to create a sense of grandeur immense, or “immense grandeur.” Picasso, who described his works as “pages from my diary,” fused the personal with the universal and was determined to achieve “a deeper likeness, more real than real, thus becoming sur-real.”
Remarkably varied artworks by Calder and Picasso are juxtaposed in thematic groupings throughout the exhibition, revealing the intriguing parallels between these great innovators and the unique visions that make each distinctive. They reaffirm the revolutionary contributions of two artists who transformed our conceptions of form and space—and thus the very definition of art itself.
The exhibition is curated by Ann Dumas, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Timothy Anglin Burgard, Distinguished Senior Curator and Ednah Root Curator in Charge of American Art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, based on original curatorial work by Claire Garnier, Emilia Philippot, Alexander S. C. Rower, and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, who jointly curated the exhibition presented at the Musée national Picasso-Paris and the Museo Picasso Málaga.