Antonio CalderaraA light without shadow

1 October 2016 – 22 January 2017

MASILugano, Piazza Bernardino Luini 6, CH – 6901 Lugano

Antonio Calderara (1903-1978), an original but reclusive figure in the Italian artistic milieu, comparable in many ways to Giorgio Morandi, began his life as a self-taught artist in the 1920s. In the decades that followed, his painting, which features sculptural simplifications and a bright light reminiscent of Piero della Francesca and Seurat, was also distinguished by the appearance of a stylised intimism that approaches experiences of Magical Realism. A turning point in his painting came with the transition, in 1959, to abstraction. Such abstraction was relatively unique in Italy due to its rather drastic character, but perfectly in line with the contemporary experience in Europe and its tendency towards the zero degree of painting. However, in his case, geometry never features the rigidity of concrete art; instead, it is dominated by delicate and subtle vibrations of light obtained through the superimposition of thin layers of paint. In his works from the 1960s and 1970s, which were almost always on a small scale, there emerges a ‘light/colour’ which translates his aspiration to “paint the null, the void, which is everything, silence, light, order, harmony. The infinite”. This first, large, Calderara retrospective in Switzerland begins with pieces from his figurative period before dwelling on the various phases which distinguish his abstract output. In addition, the exhibition includes a large selection of works from the artist’s own collection, amassed through a series of exchanges with other artists with whom he was linked by friendship or mutual respect, including Josef Albers, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Yves Klein, Dadamaino, François Morellet, Jan Schoonhoven, Max Bill and Gianni Colombo.