BAJ Enrico

Enrico Baj | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books


"The forms disintegrate: the new forms of man are those of the atomic universe. The forces are the electric charges. The ideal beauty no longer belongs to a caste of stupid heroes, nor to robots. But it coincides with the representation of the nuclear man and his space. [...] The truth does not belong to you: it is inside the atom. Nuclear painting documents the search for this truth."

(Enrico Baj)



Enrico Baj (Milan, 31 October 1924 - Vergiate, 16 June 2003) was an Italian painter and sculptor.

He studied at the grammar school, then began his studies in Medicine, to abandon them after the Second World War in favor of the Faculty of Law (which he completed becoming a lawyer) and the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, who attended parallel.

Baj has always had relationships with Italian and foreign poets and writers (André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Raymond Queneau, Edoardo Sanguineti, Umberto Eco and others) and has collaborated with his own illustrations to the editions of classical and modern texts. Enrico Baj dedicates one of his works to the "Portrait of Carlo Ernesto Accetti" in 1924.

In 1951 he held his first solo exhibition at the Galleria San Fedele in Milan, where he exhibited informal works; in the same year he founded together with Sergio Dangelo the Movement of Nuclear Painting. In 1953, together with Asger Jorn, he founded the International Movement for an imaginist Bauhaus, in controversy with the Maxm School of Ulm; in 1954 the two artists gave life to the International Ceramic Meetings in Albissola Marina at the Mazzotti Ceramics, in which Lucio Fontana, Emilio Scanavino, Karel Appel, Guillaume Corneille, Roberto Matta, Aligi Sassu, Édouard Jaguer and others took part.

In the fifties he collaborated with avant-garde magazines Il Gesto, Boa and Phases. Over the years, the passion of writing has increased to the publication of numerous books including Patafisica (1982), Automitobiografia (1983), Let's learn painting, Fantasy and reality with Guttuso, Ecologia dell'arte.

In 1957 he signed the manifesto Against style and held his first personal exhibition abroad at the Gallery One in London; in 1959 he joined the Manifeste de Naples. In 1962 he took part in New York at the exhibition The Art of Assemblage, an occasion in which he met Duchamp. Between 1963 and 1966 he spent a lot of time in Paris where he joined the Collège de 'Pataphysique. In 1964 he got a personal room at the Venice Biennale and in the same year he exhibited at the Milan Triennale.

Always attentive to the social aspects of his work, he consecrated in 1972 a large canvas at the "Funeral of the anarchist Pinelli", where he took his own figures inspired by Guernica and his own grotesque characters and parodies. After 40 years, the work was exhibited at Palazzo Reale in Milan in the summer of 2012.

The poster and the official call for tenders for the San Giorgio su Legnano scacchi tournament show the sculpture The chess of the artist, which has always been the logo of the event. Baj had decided, as a gesture of friendship towards the tournament organizers, to allow free reproduction of his work to publicize the competition.

The artist's archive is kept in the Archive of the 20th century in the Mart of Rovereto.