Senza titolo (Scala) (Untitled [Stepladder])

Pier Paolo Calzolari

Bologna, Italy, 1943
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  • Material: 
    Steel, copper, lead, neon light, refrigeration unit and transformer
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  • Dimensions: 
    Overall: 245 x 300 x 200 cm / Base: 250 x 200 cm / Part 01: 245 x 60 cm / Part 02: 23 x 220 cm / Part 03: 26,5 x 57 x 38,5 cm
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One year after the inaugural Arte Povera exhibition at the La Bertesca gallery, Genoa, in September 1967, Pier Paolo Calzolari got involved with the group’s activities until the early 1970s. What Calzolari brought to Povera’s fundamental desire to get back to the obsolete structures, objects and materials left behind by modernity and its mission to maintain artisanal systems of production, was an interest in lending a physical and emotional reality to his three-dimensional pieces. Art critic Bruno Corà referred to a kind of “alchemical energy” because the materials used in Calzolari’s work are more valued the greater their physical purity, and the greater their possibilities of transmutation, and his shapes reject the angular in favour of baroque curves. Senza titolo (Scala) (Untitled [Stepladder]) consists of a brass, ladder-like structure, frosted by electrical refrigeration, that stands on a lead floor in front of a neon sign that reads: “L’aria vibra del ronzio degli insetti” (The air vibrates with the buzzing of insects). Calzolari’s frosted sculptures have been interpreted as existential references. In Senza titolo (Scala), the transformed material (the ice) and its juxtaposition with word-based neon elements demonstrate an interest in the phenomenal state of materials (water, ice, air) and in the symbolic value of the ladder, which Corà saw as “a symbol of the Axis of the Universe, on which perpetual movement up and down takes place.”

Carmen Fernández Aparicio

Pier Paolo Calzolari
Artworks in the Collection