He is born in Milan on 31st October 1924 and he is one of the most important Italian contemporary artists. He is main character of Fifty and Sixty avant-gardes with Fontana, Jorn, Manzoni, and Klein. Baj strikes up with Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, E. L. T. Mesens and other artists of CoBra group, Nouveau Réalisme, Surrealism and Pataphysical. In 1951, in Milan, Baj founds Nuclear Movement with Dangelo and Dova; in 1954, in opposition to systematic repetitiveness of stylistic formalism, he creates with Asgern Jorn the Mouvement International pour une Bauhaus Imaginiste contrary to forced rationalization and geometric art.
The collages, polychromatic and made with different materials, are permeated with playful mood and irony. They represent the icon of Milan artist’s satire: the break up of shapes expressing the explosion of matter and image. Baj’s work is structured in periods that are marked with desecrating irony and expressive renovation. They are playful and ironic currents such as Mirrors, furniture, Meccano, ladies, modifications, d’apres that integrate with condemnation against violence and decline. Since his first figurations of nuclear period (1951) he shows great dedication against every violent form and – by his grotesques collages Generals (1959) and Military Parades- he arrives at three important works Funeral on anarchic Pinelli (1972), Nixon Parade (1974) and Apocalypse (1979). With Epater le robot (1983) and Mannequins (1984-87) Baj highlights the critique against contemporaneity and indiscriminate use of technology.
On the contrary, with Metamorphosis and metaphor (1988), Kitsch mythology (1989) and Delights garden denounces the corruption of style caused by the culture of industrial product. In 1993 he starts the series of tribal masks, felts and totems. The 1999 is characterized by 164 portraits of Guermantes adapted from Recherche by Proust.
The combination of Literature and painting represents unlimited source of inspiration for Baj. His relationships with poets, Italian and international writers are witnessed by fifties books containing press and multiples. These books are from classical antiquity poets works as Lucrezio, Marziale, Tacito to more modern artists as Lewis Carrol, John Milton, André Breton, Edoardo Sanguineti, Roberto Sanesi, Umberto Eco, Alda Merini. Baj is unforgettable also for his incursion in the theatre where he realizes his famous marionettes for Ubi Roi , the show created by Alfred Jerry (1984).
He looks like troubled artist intellectual and he constantly interlaces creative activity with artistic reflection. In the mid-’50s he contributes to magazines Il Gesto and Phases. He publishes many books as Pataphysics, Selfmybiography, Learn the painting, Fantasy and Reality with Guttuso, Ecology of art. Especially in the 80s
he contributes with important newspapers and magazines as Il Sole 24 ore and Il Corriere della sera. He exhibits in many important museums and art galleries.
Enrico Baj dies in Vergiate (Varese) on 16 June 2003.