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Pier Paolo Calzolari (Bologna 1943)

Pier Paolo Calzolari was born in Bologna in 1943, where he attended art school and the Academy. Between 1965 and 1968 he exhibited frequently, in both one-man and collective exhibitions, at the Bentivoglio Studio in Bologna. In 1969 and 1970 he held two one-man shows at the Sperone Gallery in Turin, one of the artistic centres in Italy closest to the avant-garde movement that Germano Celant had just baptised “Arte Povera”. In 1969 his work appeared in two international exhibitions that confirmed his membership of the most widely acknowledged avant-garde elite: Op Losse Schroeven at the Stedelijk in Amsterdam and When Attitudes Become Form at the Kunsthalle in Berne. From that time through the decade of the 1970s Calzolari would participate (often with the Poveristi group but also with conceptual artists), in all the major avant-garde exhibitions in Italy and America, – including Prospect in Dusseldorf and Documenta in Kassel.
In the 1980s his work, which was never easily ascribable to any unitary poetic framework, appeared to signal a “return to painting”, whose traditional canons he nonetheless continued to circumvent. He was called on to take part in all the main retrospectives on art in the 1960s, in Italy, Europe, America, Japan and Australia. He lives and works in Fossombrone, where he leads a secluded existence. 

Fabrizio D'Amico