Sculptor of Air

By François Lévy-Kuentz


Calder: Sculptor of Air

Alexander Calder’s work was captured on film as early as 1929 in a documentary by German films on art pioneer Hans Cürlis. His film Drahtplastik as well as Carlos Vilardebó’s famous Calder’s Circus (1961), both part of the EYE collection, are integrated into this masterful compilation documentary.


The beauty and fragility of the work of Alexander Calder (1898-1976), who was during his lifetime one of the most revolutionary and popular artists, continues to fascinate with its unique constellations of forms, colours and movement. As a student, Calder did illustrations for the National Police Gazette, including sketches of famous circus troupes. In 1926, he moved to Paris, where he created his legendary miniature Circus. His friendship with Miró, Leger, Arp and Mondrian greatly influenced his art, as he stopped figurative pieces and developed a colourful, abstract sculptural idiom. In 1932, he exhibited his first ‘mobiles’, kinetic sculptures that derived their motion from air currents.


Calder: Sculptor of Air


Including numerous unpublished interviews, archival film clips and footage of his sculptures, the film highlights the innovative nature of Calder's work and searches for major recurrent themes. François Levy Kuentz meticulously and brilliantly combines the many different films and material into a cinematic self-portrait of the artist, which has won many awards. This documentary was co-produced by the Centre Pompidou in Paris and AVRO in 2009 on the occasion of a retrospective of Calder’s Paris years, and was also shown at the Whitney Museum, New York.


Calder: sculpteur de l'air


52 min. / Digibeta

Language: French

Subtitles: English

Screenplay: Stephan and François Lévy-Kuentz
Cinematography: Olivier Raffet
Editing: Nicole Seres Chamming's
Production: Bruno Nahon for Zadig productions

François Lévy-Kuentz was born in Paris and studied film at the Université Paris III. He began working as an assistant director on films of Marcel Bluwal, Claude Chabrol and Frederic Mitterrand. His interest in painting led him to make his first film, Man Ray, in 1989. He has directed some fifty portraits of artists and writers such as Yves Klein, Delacroix and Christian Boltanski and collaborated with many museums like Centre Pompidou and Musee d'Orsay.