To mark the opening of Gagosian’s new Paris gallery at 9 rue de Castiglione, Alexander Calder’s monumental sculpture Flying Dragon (1975) will be installed in Place Vendôme as part of FIAC Hors les Murs, which presents artworks in emblematic public spaces throughout the city. The inaugural exhibition at the rue de Castiglione gallery will underscore the unique visual language of Flying Dragon, presenting diverse archival materials related to the sculpture and its original maquette alongside additional works from 1975.
Flying Dragon exemplifies the dynamism and structural ingenuity that propelled Calder’s work to become a fixture of modern art. Due to its enormous size and sturdy makeup, the nonobjective sculpture is weighty; yet its limited points of contact with the ground suggest a body in flux, about to take to the air. The work attests to Calder’s intuitive sense of scale and his ability to conjure compositional harmony from diverse formal elements. Using elegant lines, boldly reductive forms, and a restricted palette, he was able to summon an exquisite balance of weight and mass.
Calder produced two maquettes for Flying Dragon. The larger of the two is held in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago; the smaller one, black in color, is featured in the current exhibition. On view alongside the maquette—and archival material related to Flying Dragon—are a quartet of very rare unpainted sculptures that have not been previously exhibited.
In 1975—just one year before his death—Calder was energetically engaged in multiple large-scale public projects. These included a monumental sculpture for the city of Jerusalem (Jerusalem Stabile, completed and installed in 1976); L’Araignée rouge, a commission for the Paris business district La Défense (completed and installed in 1976); and the monumental stabile that inspired this exhibition, Flying Dragon. Flying Colors, the DC-8 jet that Calder designed for Braniff International Airways in 1973, was exhibited at the Paris Air Show in May—a commission whose concept echoes the soaring forms of Flying Dragon, which was fabricated in Connecticut that summer.
Selected works by Calder will also be presented at the rue de Ponthieu gallery to further emphasize the artist’s visual vocabulary and the interplay between nature and abstraction, stillness and motion, and monumentality and ephemerality in his practice.
9 rue de Castiglione
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10:30–6:30
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Flying Dragon, 1975
October 19, 2021–January 2, 2022
Place Vendôme, Paris
Alexander Calder’s monumental sculpture Flying Dragon (1975) will be on view at Place Vendôme in Paris beginning October 19. The installation marks the opening of Gagosian’s new gallery at rue de Castiglione and is part of FIAC Hors les Murs, which presents artworks in emblematic public spaces throughout the city.
Flying Dragon (1975)—which exemplifies Calder’s capacity to invest a powerful visual dynamism in his work regardless of scale—is among the last of the monumental works he made. While static, the striking sculpture transforms when viewed from different angles. Constructed from sheet metal, it is physically weighty but appears delicate due to its limited points of contact with the ground.
Alexander Calder, Flying Dragon, 1975, installation view, Place Vendôme, Paris © 2021 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Thomas Lannes
Gagosian Announces New Paris Gallery
Gagosian is pleased to announce the opening of a new location in Paris in October 2021. Situated at 9 rue de Castiglione, in the 1st arrondissement, the space is part of the historic Hotel Lotti development, built in 1910. The location is steps from Place Vendôme, where Leo Castelli and René Drouin opened the storied Drouin Gallery in 1939, and within walking distance of the Musée du Louvre, Musée de l’Orangerie, and Musée d’Orsay.
The exterior of Gagosian’s new gallery at 9 rue de Castiglione, Paris. Photo: Thomas Lannes