Firma Cristina

Cristina Alice Calderara Jaime

Visual artist
Cristina Alice was born in Bellinzona, Canton Ticino, Switzerland, on the 22.03.1968.

Heiress of a stimulating family tradition where creativity naturally melted with daily duties, from her creative and non conventional, according to the customs of that period, grandparents and from parents equally spoiled by such modality.
Her grandmother from her mother’ side left Canton Ticino all alone in the 1940 ies to become part of the working world in Basilea, Switzerland. A vigorous, agnostic and socialist woman, she has surely been part of that lineage of pre-feminists. Her grandfather from Basilea was a man already interested in art since he was young. Her grandfather from her father’ side, who was in charge of a well known granite quarry, was already moulding stone in an artistic and functional way.
Cristina’s mother concluded an education in graphic art in Ticino and Cristina’s father was in charge of the excavations in the Canton Ticino Service of Archeology, after several years of experience in the German speaking area of Switzerland and in Canton Grigioni.
Cristina had to move with her parents, when she was a little girl, to Canton Argovia, where she attended kindergarten and the first year of primary school in German, and to Canton Grigioni where she learned “Romancio” (a Swiss language). These displacements have ulteriorly conditioned her capacity to adapt to new social and linguistic habits.
When she returned to Ticino, Cristina Alice was 9 years old. This was for her like the beginning of an antique fairy tale. Going deeply into her grandparents’ magic garden was like being inside Wonderland. Her fairy tale still continues.
“The objects, the material, often insignificant to the eyes of people, have always created a magnetic attraction for me; impossible for me not to pick up a peculiar piece of wood, a pebble, abandoned tools and so on”.

When Cristina is in front of an object of nature or in front of an industrial one, she seems to find a new white rabbit, peeping out of a bush in her grandparents’ garden. She feels an unrestrainable compulsion to give an artistic shape to any handcraft.
“It’s like the object itself is calling me, making me having a glimpse at its copious evolutions”.
A new stimulus suddenly appears, which distracts her from the previous one and it is in such fragmentary and complex way that her mental process functions when she creates. She simultaneously works on more than one subject: from painting to installation, from a piece of metal to a wooden one.
“I never had great coherence, I don’t indulge on an object, on a subject, on a material, not because of lack of interest, but because somewhere else something else already attracts me, and may be diametrically at antipodes”.
When she became an adult she obtained a degreee as a psychiatric nurse, even though she firstly tried other experiences in the social field. But the confrontation with the human mind and the nursing of patients through the creative world (theater, entertainement and art within the psychiatric hospital and in other centres), was an ulterior step towards her definition as a thinking woman, encountering the creative capacity of the human being in each of its facets. This has enabled her to eventually widen the borders of her grandparents’ garden. The world had become a wide garden where she could chase white rabbits.
“This is how I started, accumulating and trying to touch, mould, integrate, break everything that came into my hands”.
She has worked as head nurse and entertainer in a pilot ward for quadriplegic patients and as teacher in water courses for babies and children. She has continued to search for other rabbits until she finally seems to have found her latest big one ... the appropriation of her creating ability as central element of her professional life.
The main theme of this path has been the long psychoanalitic trip which Cristina Alice has brought forward and still cultivates. The Jungian imprinting of such an experience has brough her close to her inner dream world, as if she could touch it with her hand. This enabled her current creativity to make sense.
Her ruck sack trips and her coming into contact with the indios’ cultures in the Chapas area (Mexico) and in the Delta Amacuro state (Venezuela) left a mark, too. Especially an experience with the indigenous culture of the Waraos (the canoes people), who live on piles in the delta of the Orinoco river. In spite of the abyss in culture and habits, Cristina identifies herself with this modality, direct and simple but authentic, deep and instinctive. Instinctivity which contradistinguishes Cristina’s individual path and art.
In 2010 she bought an old house in Malcantone, a beautiful area of Canton Ticino and has remolded it on her own (acting as mason and tile-layer, as carpenter and plaster-layer) so it could become a creative space where she has held several courses (marionnette-making, wood and felt works).
In 2013, recognised amongst the artists of the region, she was invited for the first time to the collective exhibition Artmisti, where she exhibited three of her works on metamorphosis. The founder of such group of artists has encouraged Cristina to attend her first international concourse in Milan, where she was selected. This acknowledgement has given her an ulterior impulse to her creative path.
From 2014 she attended several exhibitions: Ponte Tresa Switzerland, Ponte Tresa Italy, Genoa and Venice.

Artistic path

I feel that my creative path is intrinsic to my being, maybe genetic, maybe by imitation, maybe by visual, audible and olfactory experiences lived during my childhood and adolescence, thanks to four creative grandparents and consequently two equally creative parents.
I have very defined images of:

“a garden scattered with coloured stones, with a granite block in the middle transformed into a fountain, that, now as an adult, vaguely reminds me of the Tarots Garden by Nicky De Saint Phalle”.

Italo, my grandfather

“an inner yard with a multitude of open doors leading into a fascinating world of tools, cans, brushes (a joinery, a painter room, a smith one). Standing next to an easel, near an open gate with a view of the “piano di Magadino” and with the lago Maggiore in the background, my grandfather, deeply absorbed and concentrated, brushing the landscape on a small canvas”.

Matthis, my grandfather

“an old kitchen-dining room with an immense, massive wooden table and a fireplace with a bench, typical of Ticino, an old pedal sewing machine from which cloth was magically transformed into trousers, shirts... and with which I created my first mini-skirt when I was an adolescent, machined from an old white sheet. A big recipe book, entirely handwritten, with a calligraphy which seemed to be a work of art. A smell of garlic, onion and aromatic herbs which has open me to the creative culinary world”.

Dora, my grandmother

“a cosy house witn an always welcoming, warm and patient grandmother. Always willing to listen, to accompany you, without any kind of judgement, in your individual path, not always on the right track. An omnipresent presence, sure and always ready with something delicious, freshly out of her kitchen, that just the thought of it makes my mouth water. A nectar for the body and for the mind”.

Bianca, my grandmother, white and candid as snow

“a Christmas tree coming down from the ceiling, a red swing, shaped like a dinosaur, an infinity of masks shaped like animals and characters, a particular one with my hair as a child. A touch of shot creativity in any activity”.

Diego, my father

“baskets filled with balls of wool, pieces of cloth, small ribbons, a creative detail in every corner of the house, books, books and every kind of books, I especially remember a book which, as a little girl, seemed enormous, with photographs of faces, a face of a black woman in particular, with incredibly penetrating and vivid eyes. My mother sitting at a table, sketching her hand and me, sitting next to her imitating her”.

Ines, my mother

So this is me, a self-taught artist, thanks to an immense and generous genetic and loving gift.

Cristina Alice Calderara Jaime