(Milan (Italy), octobre, 31, 1924 - Vergiate (Italy), june 2003) was
an Italian artist and art writer. Many of his works show an
obsession with nuclear war. He created prints, sculptures but
especially collage. He was close to the surrealist and dada
movements, and was later associatied with pop art. As an author he
has been described as a leading promoter of the avant-garde. He
worked with Umberto Eco among other collaborators. He had a long
interest in the pseudo-philosophy 'pataphysics.
He was born in
Milan, into a wealthy family, but left Italy in 1944 having upset
the authorities and to avoid conscription. He studied at the Milan
University law faculty and the Brera Academy of Art.
In 1951 he founded
the arte nucleare movement with Sergio Dangelo, which unlike the
abstract art was overtly political. Baj himself was aligned with the
anarchist movement. His most well-known pieces are probably he
series of "Generals": absurd characters made from found objects such
as belts or medals.
He made numerous
works using motifs from other artists, from Leonardo da Vinci to
Picasso. Sometimes he recreated entire works of other painters.
In 1972 public
display of a major work, "Funeral Of The Anarchist Pinelli" ( a
reference to Carlo Carrà's famous painting The Funeral of the
Anarchist Galli of 1911) was banned after the murder of the police
officer believed to be responsible for Giuseppe Pinelli's death in
custody. However his work continued to be political. In his last
years he created a series of paintings in protest at the election of
Silvio Berlusconi. He died in Vergiate, Italy.