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Donald Kuspit on Pier Paolo Calzolari

Donald Kuspit on Pier Paolo Calzolari

Donald Kuspit on Pier Paolo Calzolari

All thirty of the works in “Portray as a Butterfly”—an exhibition by Italian artist Pier Paolo Calzolari—have been abstractions. Some have been geometric or practically monochromatic, whereas a number of others, comparable to Rideau V, 1984, a landscape-like image suffused by a midnight blue, have been gestural and stuffed with luscious, flourishing, sensual colours. Working throughout the highest of Rideau V is a fringe of variegated gold and crimson, from which a sequence of skinny vertical strains descend, like delicate rain. Little blossoms of crimson scale these marks as an uneven band of darkish yellow pierces the middle of the canvas lengthwise, calling to thoughts a dusky horizon.

Aside from that piece, all the opposite works on this presentation featured wooden as their major helps whereas incorporating an entire host of various media, together with paper, flannel, cardboard, and lead. A handful of images, comparable to Untitled, 2021, during which a lone feather seemingly grows out of a walnut shell, each of which hover over a bright-red floor, included objects jutting out from flatly coloured surfaces—a form of modernist tweak on trompe l’oeil. Maybe the feather is all that is still of the wing of Icarus, who flew too near the solar and fell to his dying within the sea. Calzolari, who was raised in Venice, was born solely two years earlier than the top of World Warfare II, so one wonders if work comparable to Senza titolo (Luna) (Untitled [Moon]), 1979, and Pantano grande (Nice Quagmire), 2019—gloomy, midnight compositions overwhelmed by creeping darkish blues—are literally meditations on finitude, mortality. The artist was a founding member of Arte Povera, a motion identified for using discarded or “lifeless” supplies, and the works right here have been stuffed with such objects, in addition to salt, the stuff of life that can be used, contrarily, to protect meat—one other type of deceased matter.

The title of Calzolari’s exhibition right here referred to as to thoughts Taoist thinker Zhuangzi’s well-known dream of being a fluttering, carefree butterfly. “Tao” is the title for the kinetic generative energies of the universe, and Zhuangzi’s lightsome insect appears emblematic of what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi famously referred to as a “stream state.” Thus, portray as a butterfly, the artist is caught up in a “means of changing into, a inventive advance into novelty,” to make use of thinker Alfred North Whitehead’s phrases. Certainly, Calzolari is fortunately making no matter he needs, producing artworks with no preconceptions and using supplies he’s seemingly all too aware of in contemporary, unusual, and vivifying methods. So one may imagine that now, in his late seventies, the artist is having a form of second childhood—a type of self-defense introduced on by the regular and relentless method of dying. Drawing the nectar out of shade and distilling his flat surfaces into Platonic purity, he has created a novel and lyrical artwork—reminding one in every of Wassily Kandinsky’s concept that idiosyncrasy is the signal of authenticity. A haiku all the time entails a reference to nature, and Calzolari’s painted haikus present his longing to return to the pure world, which abstraction eschews. His romance with nature was evident in lots of of those expressionistic works, whereas within the extra purely summary photos it was merely an afterthought. The artist crafts a pressure between poetic expressionism and the nonobjective; this wealthy area offers his works an additional emotional edge—a form of efflorescence of spirit simply earlier than the top.

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