Art Term

Mobile

A mobile is a type of sculpture that is formed of delicate components which are suspended in the air and move in response to air currents or motor power

Alexander Calder, ‘Untitled’ 1937
Alexander Calder
Untitled 1937
Tate
© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2017

Artist Alexander Calder was the originator of the mobile. By suspending forms that move with the flow of air, Calder revolutionised sculpture. It was Marcel Duchamp who dubbed these works ‘mobiles’. Rather than a solid object of mass and weight, they continually redefine the space around them as they move. Calder’s subtle balance of form and colour resulted in works that suggest an animated version of paintings by friends such as Joan Miró.

related terms and concepts

Art Term

Kinetic art

Kinetic art is art that depends on motion for its effects

Art Term

Sculpture

Three-dimensional art made by one of four basic processes: carving, modelling, casting, constructing

Art Term

Abstract art

Abstract art is art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead use ...

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selected artists in the collection

Artist

Alexander Calder

1898–1976
Artist

Julio Le Parc

born 1928
Artist

Lynn Chadwick

1914–2003
Artist

William Turnbull

1922–2012

selected artworks in the collection