John Safer, Chandelle, 1969, revised 2013, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2007.23
The French word chandelle means "candle," and this sculpture, although not strictly representational, evokes the form of a flickering flame. As the viewer walks by the piece the changing shape of a flame can be imagined in the reflections of light in the polished black Lucite and through the sculpture's deceptively tapering form. The title of this work may also indicate John Safer's knowledge of aviation gained in the Air Force. A chandelle is an aircraft control maneuver in which the pilot combines a 180-degree turn with a sudden climb.
Luce Object Quote"What I see and try to capture [in my sculpture] is the movement of beauty. I try to freeze a line of a motion that expresses strength, power, or grace . . . I try to grasp and make permanent something ephemeral." The artist, quoted in Getlein, "A Shaping Hand: An Interview with John Safer, Harvard Business Review (July-August 1984)