Pier Paolo Calzolari was born in Bologna in 1943. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Urbino. He has been a freelance artist since 1967 and was a professor of painting at the Accademia di Belli Arti in Urbino from 1966 to 1970 and from 2002 to 2003. Calzolari currently lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal.
The artist is regarded as an exponent of the arte povera movement that arose in the 1960s. This form of object art predominantly employs such “poor” materials as soil, wood or straw, but also objects such as neon tubes. The aim is to harness the poetic complexity and creative influence of the objects so as to spotlight forgotten connections.
The glowing blue neon sign Avido, Italian for “desire”, is the title embedded in the artwork as part of the whole, a living force that contrasts with the grains of salt glued onto the fastened leather belt that are possessed of a sense of ossification. At the centre of this dynamic context of desire and irony – the Latin sal and the Italian sale also mean wit – we see power, but also powerlessness manifested in the form of the belt. The significance of the leather component is based on two extremes: the one wearing the leather belt can be interpreted as the literal bearer of power. On the other hand, the tightness of the belt may also be seen as symbolising the powerlessness of the person trapped in it. In Avido, Calzolari succeeds in recalling the link between desire and power.*
*abbreviated description of the object after Elisabeth Hirschmann
Photo: Pier Paolo Calzolari, Avido (c) Margherita Spiluttini