Lisson Gallery

Antonio Calderara: From Lake Orta

London, 6 July – 20 August 2022

Antonio Calderara: From Lake Orta

“The importance of the landscape of Lake Orta in my painting lies in the reason that the light is so special,
[it] has a profound weight on my spirit, so much so that I identify with it.”

The Italian artist Antonio Calderara’s career was marked by his gradual journey towards abstraction, although his earlier work was resolutely figurative, consisting of self-portraits, landscapes of the lake around the island of San Giulio in northern Italy and still life paintings. Lisson Gallery has, for the first time, gathered and loaned a number of these overtly representational, mid-century works, many of which have not been exhibited in public before, to chart the trajectory of his radical move towards a flattening and simplification of the world, while acknowledging that figures and objects – whether architectural, pastoral, domestic, personal or otherwise – would always somehow maintain a ghostly presence in his compositions.

Beginning in 1948, this exhibition reveals two enduring subject matters for Calderara: his family and his idyllic surroundings. His wife Carmela (Head of a Woman or Testa di donna) was a frequent sitter (also seen in Maternità of 1953), as was his daughter Gabriella, although she died tragically young, a few years before reappearing in a composition of female figures grouped around the dinner table. The real constant was the shimmering view over Lake Orta, towards the Piedmontese hills and the floating world of San Giulio, a turreted island that hovers on every horizon, come snow or sun. A particularly wintry scene across the water is depicted as if through a veil of thick fog, the subtle variations on white presaging Calderara’s almost entirely abstract, bleached out picture of 1959, in the final room of the show.

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67 Lisson Street

Opening Times:
Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00am – 6:00pm

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