Alexander Calder’s Style Influences Chinese Contemporary Artists

Installation view, Referencing Alexander Calder: A Dialogue in Contemporary Chinese Art, courtesy Klein Sun Gallery. Photo by Drew Dies.

Alexander Calder is having a good run in New York this season. Besides the blockbuster exhibit of his work at the Whitney Museum, the Klein Sun Gallery is featuring works by contemporary Chinese artists influenced by his style and ideas.

The exhibition entitled Referencing Alexander Calder: A Dialogue in Contemporary Chinese Art features work by eleven Chinese artists whose work resembles or has been influenced by Calder’s style.

When the Klein Sun Gallery first opened 10 years ago, its inaugural show also revolved around Calder, though it focused more on his influence on his Western artists.

Installation view, Referencing Alexander Calder: A Dialogue in Contemporary Chinese Art, courtesy Klein Sun Gallery. Photo by Drew Dies.
Vivien Zhang, Cursory Eddy, 2017, acrylic, oil, and spray paint on canvas, 55 1/8 x 63 inches (140 x 160 cm), © Vivien Zhang, courtesy Klein Sun Gallery.

The thing that Calder is best known for are his mobiles, but throughout his career which spanned nearly five decades, Calder also experimented with stabiles, graphic works, and the concept of flow. The installation that most closely echoes his mobiles is Li Jingxiong’s EGOBY that features several footballs that are half white and half-gray or half-black hung together on a wall by a black string. The piece is meant to convey male dominance in the contemporary world. Vivien Zhang’s painting entitled Cursory Eddy most closely echoes Calder’s fascination with movement as it depicts several groups of bubbles expanding and images of three hands resembling a cursor of a computer mouse trying to pick some of the bubbles up or move some of them around. Similarly, Zhao Yao’s painting entitled A Painting of Thought V-368 depicts movement by several different-colored lines with round ends moving across a grid in different directions much like the game of Pac-Man.

Zhao Yao, A Painting of Thought V-368, 2015, acrylic on found fabric,
70 7/8 x 70 7/8 x 3 1/8 inches (180 x 180 x 8 cm), © Zhao Yao, courtesy Klein Sun Gallery.
Installation view, Referencing Alexander Calder: A Dialogue in Contemporary Chinese Art, courtesy Klein Sun Gallery. Photo by Drew Dies.

Referencing Calder’s stabiles are several steel sculptures by Huang Rui are connected to Calder’s steel sculptures and include two abstract representations of animals entitled Monkey and Cat.

Installation view, Referencing Alexander Calder: A Dialogue in Contemporary Chinese Art, courtesy Klein Sun Gallery. Photo by Drew Dies.

A couple of pieces that convey the concept of flow are a dynamic wax sculpture by Yangjiang Group entitled Flight of Dragon and Dance of Phoenix, and a painting by Shen Fan entitled Shan Shui C-27 which has a calming effect as it features a mountain and a wave of water depicted with thin black strokes of paint and illustrating the relationship between solidity and movement.

 

At the Klein Sun Gallery, 525 W. 25th St., through Oct. 7. The gallery is open Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Alison Martin

Alison Martin

Alison Martin is a lifelong resident of New York City. She loves to write and has a great appreciation for the arts and is very knowledgeable and passionate about New York City’s sites, attractions, and new art exhibits.

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