Enrico Baj

May 4 - June 16, 2007

537 W 22nd Street

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Opening reception: Friday, May 4, 6-8 pm

Friedrich Petzel Gallery, in collaboration with Gio' Marconi Gallery and Archivio Baj, is pleased to announce the opening of a solo exhibition of works by the Italian artist Enrico Baj (1924-2003). The works, some of which have never before been exhibited in the United States, highlight the stylistic innovation of Baj, one of the most distinguished and controversial Italian artists of the 20th Century.

Artist, attorney, ironist, writer, sharp critic, and political dissenter, Enrico Baj brought an urgent, refreshing and unique voice to the art of his time. In 1951 he founded the Movimento d'Arte Nucleare (the Nuclear Art Movement, or Art for the Nuclear Age) with Sergio Dangelo whose manifesto stated that its members "desire to demolish all the 'isms' of painting that inevitably lapses into academicism, whatever their origins may be." Baj took inspiration from the most radical notion of Surrealism (he joined the COBRA Group in the late 1940s), adhered to Ubu's sardonic and rocambolesque spirit and André Breton (in Le Surréalisme et la peinture) claimed him for his movement. His work was acclaimed by Gillo Dorfles as kitsch pioneer and embraced by artists like Asger Jorn, Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst. Baj's work reflected a necessity for continuous re-evaluation and renovation in which the experimental process took precedent over the realized objects.

The exhibition features works from various moments in Baj's output, spanning the late 1950s to 2002, including his Modificazioni paintings (1959-60), a visual farce in which Baj modified kitschy commercial paintings in order to push further still the Dada anti-art idea, and his Idraulica series (2002) consisting of sculptures and assemblages made from hydraulic plumbing fittings.

Also on view Baj's Generali, gorilla-like figures with ferocious expressions, laid down upon a floral fabric background, whose effeminacy clashes with the general's predatory qualities, making them even more absurd and demonstrating both the comedy and the tragedy of the frail human ego as it searches for validation and self-worth. A series of his portraits, assemblages in which Baj address the absurdity of human self-perception and a critic to the provincialism of the Italian bourgeoisie will also be exhibited.

Previous main exhibitions include: The Art of Assemblage, MoMA, New York, 1961; Pittura a Milano dal 1945 al 1964, Milan, 1964; XXII Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 1964; Baj's at Marconi, Studio Marconi, Milan, 1967; Gemeentemuseum, L'Aja, 1967; Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 1971; Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, 1971; Enrico Baj. Opere 1951-2001, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Roma, 2001/2002.

The exhibition opens on Friday, May 4 with a reception from 6-8 pm and remains on view through June 16, 2007. For further information, please contact the gallery at info@petzel.com, or call (212) 680-9467. Friedrich Petzel Gallery is located at 537 West 22nd Street New York, NY 10011.


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    Enrico Baj
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2007
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    Enrico Baj
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2007
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    Enrico Baj
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2007
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    Enrico Baj
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2007
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    Enrico Baj
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2007
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    Enrico Baj
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2007
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    Enrico Baj
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2007
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    Model SR 319
    1964
    Meccano sculpture
    64.96 x 35.43 x 19.69 inches
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    Model DA-HE803
    1964
    Meccano sculpture
    60.63 x 35.43 x 19.69 inches
  • 10 / 33
    Model AZ 220
    1964
    Meccano Sculpture
    64.96 x 27.17 x 17.52 inches
  • 11 / 33
    Meccano 0-24701
    1965
    Meccano sculpture
    68.9 x 29.53 x 13.78 inches
  • 12 / 33
    Coppia
    1963
    Collage, cotton wadding, upholstery trim and Meccano on fabric
    44.88 x 57.48 inches/114 x 146 cm
  • 13 / 33
    Parata a Sei
    1964
    Oil, collage, cotton wadding, upholstery trim
    74.8 x 188.98 inches
  • 14 / 33
    Generale
    1961
    Oil, collage, hemp and decorations on fabric
    38.58 x 31.89 inches
  • 15 / 33
    Generale con braccia aperte
    1961
    Oil, collage, upholstery trim on fabric
    31.89 x 39.37 inches
  • 16 / 33
    Generale
    1961
    Oil, collage, decorations on fabric
    57.48 x 44.88 inches
  • 17 / 33
    La Gemina Dora
    2002
    Collage, pipe fittings on wallpaper on wood
    54.72 x 78.74 inches
  • 18 / 33
    La Moscova
    2002
    Collage, pipe fittings, wallpaper on wood
    51.18 x 39.37 inches
  • 19 / 33
    La Neva
    2002
    Collage, pipe fittings, wallpaper on wood
    51.18 x 39.37 inches
  • 20 / 33
    Ninette de Valois
    1974
    Collage, upholstery trim, wallpaper on wood
    57.48 x 44.88 inches
  • 21 / 33
    Ma petite
    1961
    Collage, upholstery trim on fabric
    31.5 x 23.62 inches
  • 22 / 33
    Talete
    2002
    Assemblage
    23.62 x 10.24 x 14.17 inches
  • 23 / 33
    Evangelista Torricelli
    2002
    Assemblage
    24.02 x 10.24 x 14.17 inches
  • 24 / 33
    Celsius
    2002
    Assemblage
    25.2 x 10.24 x 12.99 inches
  • 25 / 33
    Consolle
    1961
    Collage, wood veneer, mirror, and fabric on wood
    28.74 x 21.26 inches
  • 26 / 33
    Petit meuble
    1961
    Oil, collage, wood inlay on fabric on wood
    24.74 x 23.62 inches
  • 27 / 33
    Table
    1961
    Oil, collage, and wood inlay on fabric on wood
    19.69 x 32.68 inches
  • 28 / 33
    Personaggio
    1961
    Collage, wood inlay on fabric on wood
    45.67 x 31.89 inches
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    Personaggio
    1962
    collage, wood inlay on fabric on wood
    39.37 x 31.89 inches/100 x 81 cm
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    Mobile
    1971
    Collage, objects, wood inlay on wood
    23.62 x 11.81 inches
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    Mobile
    1971
    Collage, objects inlaid on wood
    12.6 x 18.11 inches
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    Mobile
    1971
    Collage, objects inlaid on wood
    12.6 x 18.11 inches
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    Des etres d'autres planets violaient nos femmes
    1959
    Oil and collage, cotton, glass & fabric on canvas
    28.35 x 36.22 inches