Enrico Baj, The Artist’s Home

An intimate glimpse into the life of a prolific artist

On a trip to Portland last fall, I paid my usual visit to Monograph Bookwerks, my favorite store in the Pacific Northwest owned by two of my friends. Enrico Baj, The Artist’s Home was recommended to me and in about five seconds I knew it had to go home with me. I hadn’t heard of Baj before, and I was intrigued by his Italian heritage and artwork covering his estate in the northern Italian countryside. A prolific artist of the late twentieth century associated with the Italian neo-avant garde, he used found objects such as rope; shells; medals; ribbons, textiles, and random objects to create lively and jubilant paintings. Baj was known as being very political, expressing his concerns and beliefs through his art, but his work was also happy and imaginative. He had a profound influence on Dada and Surrealism, and was the founder of the Milanese movement, Nuclear Art. Looking through this book and seeing his way of incorporating fabrics and objects into works of art displayed all over his home, it started to feel personal – as if you could sense that his life and his work were intertwined. The home had not been open to the public before this book was published, which makes it even that much more personal and intimate.