I have just returned from a lightning trip to Nice celebrate the end of the academic year and the half way point of my MA. Of course, I made a beeline to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, primarily to see the Yves Klein works; more of that in another post. But it was a work that I did not even know was going to be there that I found most inspiring; it was outside rather than inside the building. Called A tribute to Alexander Calder, it was by the Belgian artist Arnie Quinze. It is made out of hundreds of pieces of orange and white timber apparently put together at random, yet amazingly forming a structure which swoops and soars outside the entrance to the museum. Alexander Calder, who died in 1976, five years after Quinze was born, was the originator the mobile. To me the installation, which was not actually suspended but supported by pillars, seemed to reflect Nice’s role as a port and the lines reminded me of the masts, booms and gaffs of the sailing ships which would have visited the town over the years. Looking at Quinze’s website it turns out that he has constructed similar installations in Brussels and is far more inspired by chaos than history, so it just goes to show how you can project your own interpretations on to art works. None of that matters; what I found really exciting about this particular work was how the aspect changed according to your position.
From beneath it made you conscious of the sky and this awareness changed according to the weather. Sunny when I went into the museum, the installation looked completely different when it was under cloudy skies a couple of hours later.
When sunny you not only had the installation itself, but it also caused interesting shadows,
….and interesting reflections.
From above you could see the shape of the whole thing.
And could even see how part of it strayed beyond the outer walls.
Finally, on leaving the museum, you could still see it peeking out over the tops of the trees.
Writing about his work in 2011, Quinze said, “Cities like open-air museums, sounds like realizing my ultimate dream; a confrontation with the public surrounded by art every day. Art has a positive effect on human beings and their personal development; it can extend their horizon and can broaden their view.” He has likened the effect of seeing his work to seeing a force of a nature. That is quite an ambition, when you come to think of it, but in the installation in Nice, do you know, I think he had almost succeeded.
A tribute to Alexander Calder remains at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nice until September