Italian painter and sculptor Enrico Baj died on 17 June 2003 in Vergiate. Born in Milan on 31 October 1924, Baj studied painting and law at the university in Milan.
In 1951, he and Sergio Dangelo founded the movement ‘arte nucleare’ (nuclear art), which aimed to revise the avant-garde and communicate the fraught and precarious situation of the post–war years.
In the following years, Baj turned to collage to pursue an interest in impasto and surface texture, often mixing paint and object trouvés. This diverse technique fostered exchanges between Baj and contemporary artists such as Arman, Piero Manzoni and Yves Klein. Baj’s importance in developing the ‘assemblage’ technique was recognized worldwide by the exhibition The Art of Assemblage, held at the MOMA in New York in 1961.
At the end of the 1960s, Baj started experimenting with reincarnations of familiar modern works such as Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which he translated into his signature style.
In the 1970s, Baj produced more political works such as the Apocalypse series (1978–84), where he highlighted environmental danger through Biblical imagery.
Towards the end of the 1980s, Baj briefly focused on figurative art, producing oil paintings inspired by Giorgio De Chirico’s mannequins, before returning to collage until the rest of his life.
Reference: Laural Weintraub, “Baj, Enrico.” Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press, http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T005797.
Paolo Monti, Photograph of Enrico Baj in Milan in 1965. Photo: “Fotogramma” – Via Colonna – Milano). Source: Wikimedia Commons
Enrico Baj, I Guermantes, 1999, mixed media on cloth on panel, Fondazione Marconi, Milano. Photo: Fondazione Marconi
I funerali dell’anarchico Pinelli, 1972, installation. Photo: Fondazione Marconi
Marceline Desbordes Valmore, 1974, mixed media on cloth. Photo: Fondazione Marconi
Mobile di campagna, 1961, mixed media on fabric on panel. Photo: Fondazione Marconi
Professor De Bakey, 1968, collage, plastic on panel. Photo: Fondazione Marconi
Generale incitante alla battaglia, 1961, mixed media on cloth. Photo: Fondazione Marconi
Paolo Monti, Some works by Enrico Baj photographed in 1960. Photo: “Fotogramma” – Via Colonna – Milano). Source: Wikimedia Commons