Enrico Baj

Enrico BAJ | Works and biography



Enrico Baj was painter, sculptor, essayist, writerand one of the most important post-war artists.

Enrico Baj was born in Milan in 1924. He studied at the Liceo Ginnasio Giovanni Berchet, then he enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Milan to abandon it in favor of the Faculty of Law and the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, which he attended at the same time .

Throughout his life he has always had relationships with Italian and foreign poets and writers including André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Raymond Queneau, Edoardo Sanguineti, Umberto Eco and joined several artistic movements including the Surrealism, the New Realism and the Pataphysics until it was founded in 1951 with Sergio Dangelo and Gianni Dova the Nuclear Movement. The founding principle of the Nuclear Movement consisted in the belief that all forms disintegrate, because the new forms of man are those of the atomic universe. The whole of humanity, according to Baj, has become a slave to technology, and in order to find the new reality it is necessary to descend into the atom, since that is where the entire universe is located.

In 1953, together with Asger Jorn, founds the International movement for an imaginist Bauhaus, in controversy with the Ulm school from Max Bill; in 1954 the two artists gave birth to International ceramics meetings ad Albissola Marina at Mazzotti ceramics, in which they participated Lucio Fontana, Emilio Scanavino, Karel Appel, William Corneille, Roberto Matta, Aligi Sassu, Edward Jaguer.

In the 1950s, Enrico Baj collaborated with avant-garde magazines The gesture, Good and Phases. Over the years, the passion for writing increased, leading to the publication of numerous books, including Pataphysics (1982), Automitobiography (1983), Let's learn painting, Fantasy and reality with Guttuso, Ecology of art.

In 1957, Enrico Baj signs the manifesto Against style and holds the first solo show abroad, at the Gallery One from London. In 1959 he joined the Naples Manifesto. In 1962 he participated in the exhibition in New York The Art of Assemblage, on the occasion of which he met Duchamp.

Between 1963 and 1966 he spent a lot of time in Paris, where he joined the College of Pataphysics. In 1964 he obtained a personal room at the Venice Biennale and in the same year he exhibited at the Triennale of Milan.

Enrico Baj elaborates and composes his works with extremely particular and unusual materials, such as wood, fabrics, plastic or even with hydraulic pipes. The choice behind the use of these materials is justified by the fact that Baj himself believes that they represent the new world we live in. In fact, the artist used to represent his works as the mirror of a deformed reality, totally different from what we usually see, since humanity has lost its shape, becoming a slave to appearance and technology.

In his works, Enrico Baj uses different techniques, venturing into dripping, in the collage, in the'inlay or even inlacing.

Among his most famous works that have marked the history of contemporary art we remember the series of General which grotesquely represent generals in service uniforms. Enrico Baj's interest in this topic arises precisely from the fact that the artist fully lived the period of the Second World War, observing the destruction of the sense of humanity in its most complete form.

The funeral of the anarchist Pinelli it is a huge carving work, 3 meters high and 12 meters long. Inside the composition, there are 18 figures carved by Baj, including Pinelli, who is praised by the characters on the right side and practically lynched by the characters (always in military uniform and with monstrous features) on his left. This work represents the interest that Enrico Baj has always had in the field of public justice, an opinion that has often made him deploy (ideologically) on the side of the revolutionaries, who would like to change the world in favor of a sense of humanity stronger than that. current.

The series of sculptures of the Plastic ties they represent one of the symbols of modern social status, the ties in fact, made of a material from which the whole modern world is now invaded. It is a collection of works with a strong connotation of social criticism.

Also Mannequins, together withKill the robot, represent a very strong message of social criticism, in which Enrico Baj discusses the society now totally lost in the process of infinite progress, of which he is increasingly a slave and less master.

In the Tribal masks we find instead the warning of Enrico Baj towards the western society of the late twentieth century, which has lost any sense of psycho-cultural evolution, to return (humanly speaking) to the primitive stage. It is all obviously an oxymoron towards unbridled progressivism, criticized by Baj in practically all of his works.