Alexander Calder

Lawnton, Pennsylvania, USA, 1898 - New York, USA, 1976
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
    Aluminium sheet, iron sheet and paint
  • Technique: 
    Cut out, riveted and welding
  • Dimensions: 
    1156 x 762 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Observations: 
    Entry date: 1988 (from the redistribution of the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] collection)
  • Register number: 
  • On display in:
    Sabatini Garden

This piece, from 1974, was acquired by the State months before the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía was decreed a National Museum, and was first installed in the patio of the Sabatini Building in 1992. Carmen is a monumental standing mobile, which follows the typology Alexander Calder began in 1958 with La Spirale, which he built for the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. It consists of a fixed supporting section with a mobile structure on top. Eight riveted blades are moved by air currents, giving the piece the playful, optimistic component so essential to Calder’s art while also producing a spontaneous contrast between the aesthetic industrial solidity of the base and the variability of the upper part. Like other pieces by the artist, the title of Carmen is a woman’s name, which, while it certainly has literary and musical connotations, does not make the sculpture a simple illustration, but actually functions as an independent work, as pointed out by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1946: “Calder does not ‘suggest’ anything: it captures genuine living movements and shapes them. ‘Mobiles’ have no meaning, make you think of nothing but themselves. They are, that is all; they are absolutes.”

Carmen Fernández Aparicio