Lynn Chadwick

Dragonfly

1951

In Tate Britain

Artist
Lynn Chadwick 1914–2003
Medium
Iron
Dimensions
Object: 2770 x 1060 x 260 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1951
Reference
N06035

Display caption

Dragonfly is made up of a network of welded iron rods, with the suspended, wing-like shapes balanced by its weighted tail. This careful balancing results in a work that can move and rotate, giving the appearance of an insect hunting for prey. Despite this specific reference to the natural world and the mobile’s organic, free movement, Chadwick’s work directly reflects on the world of industry and technology. This is indicated by his use of iron and welding, and by the engineered construction of the mobile’s latticework structure. Chadwick preferred to discuss these works in terms of their form and manufacture.

Gallery label, April 2019

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Catalogue entry

N06035 DRAGONFLY 1951
 
 
Not inscribed.
Iron mobile, length 116 (295).
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1951.
Repr: Art d'Aujourd'hui, IV, No.2, 1953, p.7.

Made in 1951 as a model for a large work to be presented by the Contemporary Art Society, but the Trustees decided to accept it in its present form. The work belongs to a series of mobiles which the artist began to experiment with in 1947, and which culminated in the complex structures of 1950–1, notably the iron and copper ‘Fisheater’ commissioned by the Arts Council in 1951.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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