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Enrico Baj Piccolo decorato

Enrico Baj
Piccolo decorato
, 1968

mixed media, acrylic and collage on canvas, 34 × 26 cm

In the mid-1950s, Baj developed a fascination for decorative materials – mattress fabrics, tapestries and the like, as well as the shining fragments of Murano glass used by Fontana in his works: an exemplary example is Piccolo bambino, 1955 – and the experimentation of a sumptuous multi-material collage to the point of saturation and redundancy. The fabrics, removed from their daily ordinariness, take on the quality of a totally and anti-rhetorically autre space: it must be specified that, then much more than now, the "high" practice of art felt authentic horror for everything that had any relation whatsoever with what was referred to with contempt as decoration. The estrangement that Baj makes of it is not an end in itself, because it materializes in the field of apparitions of an increasingly openly monstrous figural theatre, with "body snatchers" in the form of repellent anthropoid little monsters, of which it is the perfect ancestor Trillalì-Trillalà, 1955, at the birth of the "generals", explicit nephews of Ubu and masks of a grotesque spectacle of the inane: Il generale Eisenhower sulla passeggiata a mare di Nizza col suo piccolo cane, 1956, is the progenitor of a long lineage that will extend over the decades.

from: Enrico Baj. Bambini, ultracorpi & altre storie, exhibition catalogue, edited by G. Gualdoni, Milano, Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, 2013, pp. 27-28.