Pier Paolo Calzolari (born1943, Bologna) began with works in which objects were attached to the two-dimensional canvas. This was an attempt to broaden what he saw as the merely descriptive medium of painting.
The idea was further developed in his spiritual, time-based installations, which often involved people and animals. His first major ‘Act of Passion’ as he called these works, was The Filter and Welcome to the Angel, 1967, which suggested a transcendent vision through the dizzying contrast of colours and the presence of dazzling white doves. Around the same time, Calzolari began working with malleable metals such as lead, and organic materials like musk, tobacco and banana leaves. He also embarked on his works incorporating freezer bars. In Without Other Troubles Than My Own Other Rumblings Than Mine, 1970, for example, the words of the title are spelt out in neon across a mattress, which has been fitted with freezer bars. These generate a delicate coating of frost on their surfaces. This effect of alchemical transformation, and interest in process, is explored in other works in which Calzolari fills volumes with smoke or with water dripping from melting blocks of ice. Mattresses often appear in his works, perhaps symbolising dream-like states. All Calzolari’s works have an ethereal beauty and a sense of the infinite.
In Zerorose, 1970, for instance, a row of rose-coloured neon zeroes runs above a tape recorder, which endlessly plays what might equally be the words ‘Zero’ and ‘Rose’. With this verbal and visual pun, Calzolari evokes the eternal void.