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One of the most mysterious members of the Arte Povera movement (literally, “poor art”), an Italian artist known for his adventurous use of new materials. He was the predecessor of the Junk Art movement in the United States and the Arte Povera movement in Italy. perceiving the creative potential of mundane objects, which he sought to combine with the new language of expressive abstractionHis early works were rags splashed in red paint, fashioned to simulate the blood-soaked bandages of wounded Italian soldiers. Milton Gendel, an American critic living in Rome, visited Burri’s studio in 1954 and described the atmosphere: “The studio is thick-walled, whitewashed, neat and ascetic; his work is ‘blood and flesh,’ reddened torn fabric that seems to parallel the staunching of wounds that Burri experienced in wartime.”

He was in fact a formalist in his abstractions, troubled by memories of the war, and his materials were often made to appear destroyed or wounded, slashed—suffering as if living flesh.

Burri was trained as a physician and began to paint only in 1944, while in a prisoner-of-war camp in Texas. He had been a medic in the Italian army, then, after being captured by the British in Tangiers, he was interned in Hereford, Texas, where he first took up painting, using old sacks as his support. This kind of existential relationship with materials, at once personally and collectively symbolic, prefigures the later, fetishistic use of fat and felt by another Axis serviceman, Joseph Beuys, who claimed to have been wrapped in those materials by Tartars when his Luftwaffe plane was shot down over Russia. About 1946 he moved to Rome and began to paint seriously. His early works—rags splashed in red paint to simulate blood-soaked bandages—grew directly out of his experiences as a doctor in the Italian army. He then began to produce works grouped into series according to the material used. The works of the earliest series (c. 1953) were made of coarse cloth stitched together. After 1956 he employed thin pieces of burned wood and layers of polyethylene in which holes were burned, creating a rich spatial network within the layers of plastic. The humble and sometimes crude materials used in these works contrast effectively with their elegant designs, and the easily destroyed materials form a perforated network over an impinging background field. In his series of metal works done after 1959, however, the solid material completely encloses the background field, although the metal is hammered from behind as if the imprisoned field were trying to break out

Description: Hard bound with dust jacket. Some wear and and a few small closed tears to dust jacket, otherwise very good. Translated by Martha Leeb Hadzi. 236 pages. Text in English.


Bookseller Inventory # 18090


Brandi, Cesare

Publisher: Editalia, Rome
Publication Date: 1963
Binding: Hard Bound
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good
Edition: First Edition

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