Enrico Baj was born in Milan on October 31, 1924. He is one of the leading exponents of the avant-garde of the 1950s. In 1951 he founded with Sergio Dangelo the artistic movement “Movimento Nucleare” and in 1953 he created the “Mouvement international pour une Bauhaus Imaginiste” (“International movement for an imaginist Bauhaus”) together with Asger Jorn, siding against the forced rationalization of art. A pugnacious spirit, he participated in the drafting of numerous posters (“Against style” in 1957, “Interplanetary art” in 1959, “Painting and reality” in 1960) and in the mid-1950s he became a true painter of heads, “Teste Solari”, then heads of “Generals” which he portrays with extreme derision, gluing on them pieces of cloth, obsolete trimmings, forgotten or invented decorations.
Beyond the irony that emanates from his works, it is precisely the delusional aspect of the representation that brings out their subversive side. In his artistic research, in fact, a playful vein stands out on the one hand, where the pleasure of painting with all sorts of materials prevails and on the other a strong civil commitment and a critique of contemporaneity, representing his own world of grotesque figures who it opposes bourgeois conventions and precarious socio-political situations.
Between 1959 and 1966, Enrico Baj approached the surrealists and participated with them in the official manifestations of the movement. Breton consecrates an essay to him. Numerous illustrated editions arise from his frequentation of poets (André Breton, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Octavio Paz, etc). Enrico Baj will also express himself greatly with the engraving; as for his canvases, also in this field the artist will reveal his rebellious spirit to the established rules that he loves to subvert without shame. The artist died on June 16, 2003 in Vergiate (Varese).