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A mobile (,) is a type of
kinetic sculpture thumbnail, Naum Gabo, ''Kinetic Construction'', also titled ''Standing Wave'' (1919–20) Kinetic art is art from any medium that contains movement perceivable by the viewer or depends on motion for its effect. Canvas paintings that extend th ...
constructed to take advantage of the principle of equilibrium. It consists of a number of rods, from which weighted objects or further rods hang. The objects hanging from the rods balance each other, so that the rods remain more or less horizontal. Each rod hangs from only one string, which gives it the freedom to rotate about the string. An ensemble of these balanced parts hang freely in space, by design without coming into contact with each other. Mobiles are popular in the
nursery Nursery may refer to: Childcare * Nursery (room), a room within the house designed for the care of a young child or children. * Nursery school, a daycare facility for preschool-age children * Prison nursery, for imprisoned mothers with their young ...
, where they hang over cribs to give
infant An infant (from the Latin word ''infans'', meaning 'unable to speak' or 'speechless') is the more formal or specialised synonym for the common term ''baby'', meaning the very young offspring of human beings Humans (''Homo sapiens'' ...

infant
s entertainment and visual
stimulation Stimulation is the encouragement of development or the cause of activity generally. For example, "The press provides stimulation of political discourse." An interesting or fun activity can be described as "stimulating", regardless of its physica ...
. Mobiles have inspired many
composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical music in any form, including vocal music (for a Singing, singer or choir), instrumental mus ...

composer
s, including
Morton Feldman Morton Feldman (January 12, 1926 – September 3, 1987) was an American composer. A major figure in 20th-century music, Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School (art), New ...
and
Earle Brown Earle Brown (December 26, 1926 – July 2, 2002) was an American composer who established his own formal and notational systems. Brown was the creator of "open form," a style of musical construction that has influenced many composers since—n ...
who were inspired by
Alexander Calder Alexander Calder (; July 22, 1898 – November 11, 1976) was an American sculptor Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts The visual arts are Art#Forms, genres, media, and styles, art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, ...

Alexander Calder
's mobiles to create mobile-like indeterminate pieces.
John Cage John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical ...
wrote the music for the short film Works of Calder that focused on Calder's mobiles.
Frank Zappa Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American musician, singer, composer, songwriter and bandleader. His work is characterized by nonconformity Nonconformity or nonconformism may refer to: Culture and soci ...

Frank Zappa
also claimed that his compositions were modelled on Calder mobiles.


Origin

The meaning of the term "mobile" as applied to sculpture has evolved since it was first suggested by
Marcel Duchamp Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp (, , ; 28 July 1887 – 2 October 1968) was a French painter, sculptor, chess player, and writer whose work is associated with Cubism Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advanc ...

Marcel Duchamp
in 1931 to describe the early, mechanized creations of
Alexander Calder Alexander Calder (; July 22, 1898 – November 11, 1976) was an American sculptor Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts The visual arts are Art#Forms, genres, media, and styles, art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, ...

Alexander Calder
. At this point, "mobile" was synonymous with the term "kinetic art", describing sculptural works in which motion is a defining property. While motor or crank-driven moving sculptures may have initially prompted it, the word "mobile" later came to refer more specifically to Calder's free-moving creations. Influenced by the abstract work of
Piet Mondrian Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan (), after 1906 Piet Mondrian (, also , ; 7 March 1872 – 1 February 1944), was a Dutch painter and art theoretician who is regarded as one of the great artists of the 20th century. He is known for being one of the pion ...
,
Joan Miró Joan Miró i Ferrà ( , , ; 20 April 1893 – 25 December 1983) was a Catalan people, Catalan painter, sculptor and ceramicist born in Barcelona. A museum dedicated to his work, the Fundació Joan Miró, was established in his native cit ...
and
Sophie Taeuber-Arp Sophie Henriette Gertrud Taeuber-Arp (; 19 January 1889 – 13 January 1943) was a Swiss artist, painter, sculptor, textile designer, furniture and interior designer, architect, and dancer. Born in 1889, in Switzerland, the daughter of a pharmac ...
, Calder in many respects invented an art form where objects (typically brightly coloured, abstract shapes fashioned from sheet metal) are connected by wire much like a balance scale. By the sequential attachment of additional objects, the final creation consists of many balanced parts joined by lengths of wire whose individual elements are capable of moving independently or as a whole when prompted by air movement or direct contact. Thus, "mobile" has become a more well-defined term with its origin in the many such hanging constructs Calder produced in a prolific manner between the 1930s and his death in 1976.


Similar works

Calder's work is the only one defined by the term "mobile"; however, three other notable artists worked on a similar concept.
Man Ray Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky; August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976) was an American visual artist who spent most of his career in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inha ...
experimented with this idea around 1920, Armando Reverón who during the 30s made a series of movable skeletons and
Bruno Munari Bruno Munari (October 24, 1907 in Milan – September 30, 1998 in Milan) was an Italians, Italian artist, designer, and inventor who contributed fundamentals to many fields of visual arts (painting, sculpture, film, industrial design, graphic desi ...
created his "Useless Machines" in 1933, made in cardboard and playful colors.Munari, Bruno: ''Air Made Visible'', 288 pages, Lars Müller Publishers, 2001.


See also

*
Dreamcatcher DreamCatcher Interactive Inc. (also known as DreamCatcher Games) was a Canadian video game publisher founded in 1996 by Richard Wah Kan. In 2006, the company became a subsidiary of JoWooD Entertainment. In 2011, the company went into administr ...

Dreamcatcher
*
Suncatcher A suncatcher or light catcher is a small reflective, refraction, refractive, and/or iridescence, iridescent ornament (art), ornament. It may include glass or nacre pieces and be hung indoors near a window to "catch" sunlight. A suncatcher is like ...
*
Wind chime A metal wind chime Wind chimes are a type of percussion instrument A percussion instrument is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produc ...

Wind chime


References


External links


Alexander Calder's Mobiles
by
Jean-Paul Sartre Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (, ; ; 21 June 1905 – 15 April 1980) was a French philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as tho ...

Jean-Paul Sartre
, ''
Les Temps Modernes ''Les Temps Modernes'' (''Modern Times'') is a French journal, founded by Simone de Beauvoir Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir (, ; ; 9 January 1908 – 14 April 1986) was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philoso ...
'', 1963 {{Authority control Types of sculpture 1931 introductions Motion (physics)