Enrico Baj


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Italian painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and writer on art, born in Milan, where he studied art part-time at the Brera Academy whilst reading for a law degree. In 1951 he helped found the Nuclear Art Movement. This was basically a form of Tachisme but made reference to contemporary fears about nuclear war. He wrote ‘From the first atomic bomb, I felt that humanity was living in a constant state of alert and fear, and that, more than ever, annihilation hung over our heads.’ His concern with the issue even led him to describe one technique of enamel paint and distilled water as ‘heavy water’. From 1955 he began making use of collage in works which parallel both Pop art and Nouveau Réalisme. A passionate anarchist, he bitterly satirized the powerful, especially the military, in works such as the series of Generals, described by Christopher Masters as ‘ludicrous characters made…out of buttons, belts, and military medals’. In other works he used Meccano or wittily inserted gnome-like figures into cheap paintings of landscapes or glamorous bodies suggesting some kind of alien invasion. Beings from other Planets Violate our Women is the title of one from 1959. André Breton was a supporter of his work and included him in the final 1965 edition of Le Surréalisme et la peinture. His large painting Funeral of the Anarchist Pinelli (1972) was forcibly removed from public view after the assassination of the police chief widely assumed to be responsible for Pinelli's ‘accidental’ death by defenestration.

From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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