«Vorrei dipingere il niente chi sia tutto, il silenzio, la luce. Vorrei dipingere l’infinito.» This is how the painter from northern Italy described his goal at the beginning of the 1960s. Antonio Calderara was not interested in a comparison of representation and abstraction, but rather a representation of essentials in an abstract pictorial space.

Antonio Calderara translates the representational world into strict compositions, into harmonious geometric surfaces. Surfaces that contain a glow which, be means of fine glazes, seems to penetrate the surface and unfold in the eye of the observer. Spazio luce colore: on the one hand, it is light that strongly influences his work; on the other one space and colour that, carefully applied in individual layers, evoke harmony. The substance of this unity of colours is like a restrained, evenly compressed movement. Actually, the artist used the formal characteristics of colour, light, and space already in his figurative pictures. The light and landscape on Lake Oarta, Calderara’s central place of work, are also reflected in his abstract pictures.

The exhibition is based on donations to Kunstmuseum Winterthur and includes two paintings, a watercolour, and an extensive collection of prints. It follows the slightly different exhibition shown at the Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana in Lugano. Paintings from all the years of his work are shown, with special attention being paid to the important period around 1960, in the course of which Calderara gradually, consistently, and informally carried out the transition from a figurative to a new and abstract order. In addition, an entire hall is devoted to his watercolours. Calderara had his breakthrough thanks to galleries and collectors in Germany and the German-speaking part of Switzerland after 1960, and that’s why the exhibition mainly shows works of collections from these countries.