The exhibition Luce, giorno (Light, day) curated by Davide Ferri, on two painters of different generations and origins - Antonio Calderara (Abbiategrasso, 1903-1978) and Helene Appel (Karlsruhe, 1976) - opens on 23 November at 18.00, at Galleria p420 (piazza dei Martiri 5/2, Bologna).
Is it possible to establish a dialogue between two very different artists, two painters hailing from disparate contexts and eras? And is it possible to address certain aspects of painting through the juxtaposition of works that lend themselves only to a relationship of contrast? How can we measure the distance between two apparently inassimilable approaches (yet ones that are germinal to any discourse on painting), between neo-Platonism and mimesis or, put more simply, between the rigor of Calderara and the virtuoso technique of Appel?
Antonio Calderara died in 1978. After teaching himself to paint, he lived in Milan and at Lake Orta. He seldom trave led, though he did change his residence several times to find better working conditions, in a sort of arduous self-reliance, to obtain "a room of one's own" often evoked as an indispensable, necessary condition of existence.
Helene Appel was born in 1976 in Karlsruhe. After studying in London, the city of the early part of her career, she has recently returned to Germany, and now lives in Berlin.
Calderara's paintings are rigorously abstract or, more precisely, they take this approach starting in 1958, the date of his decisive move towards abstraction, a shift akin to only a very few others in the Italian 20th century, in terms of its radical timing and resolve. «In 1958, with the drawing of my mother - Calderara wrote in a long autobiographical passage - I made my last curved line.»
Appel's works, on the other hand, are figurative, based on an obsessive and intimate hyper-realism, depicting certain obj ects in great detail - kernels of rice, small plants and branches, screens, thread, fabrics, adhesive tape, plastic wrap - painted on raw canvas as if they were scattered on a table or a shelf, more or less at random.
In the exhibition Light, day the abstract paintings of Antonio Calderara and the hyper-realist works of Helene Appel meet in a diurnal, southern, inexorable light.
In collaboration with Fondazione Antonio e Carmela Calderara