(Città di Castello, 1915 – Nice, 1995)
Alberto Burri held his first solo show in 1947 in Rome at Galleria La Margherita presented by Libero De Libero and Leonardo Sinisgalli: the works on display are landscapes and still lifes, sometimes dropped into visions of pure fantasy. The following year, at the same gallery, he exhibited for the first time abstract works dominated by thin and linear graphics. His most famous series, I Sacchi, belongs to the first half of the fifties. On the canvas, uniformly dyed red or black, he pastes jute bags. These bags always look "poor": they are worn and full of ramifications and seams. From 1957 onwards, with the series Le Combustioni, he made a significant turn in his art, introducing fire among his artistic tools. With the flame he burns wood or plastic with which he then creates his paintings. In this case the wear that marks the materials does no longer belong to "life", but they have an energy that has an almost metaphorical primordial value - the fire - that accelerates the corrosion of the material. In his poetics, therefore, there is always the concept of "consumption" that reaches his greatest cosmic inspiration with the series of Cretti that starts from the Seventies onwards. In these works, made with a mixture of kaolin, vinavil and pigment fixed on cellotex, it reaches its maximum purity and expressiveness. In Burri's work, art always intervenes "after". After that the art materials have already been used and consumed. They speak to us of a memory and urge us to think of everything that happened in the previous life of those materials before they were definitively fixed in the immobility of the work of art. Burri's poetry has radically called into question the concept of art and its relationship with life: art as a mimetic fiction that imitates life now appears definitively surpassed by an art that illustrates life with the sincerity of life itself.
Alberto Burri, Cretto, 1976
PVA on canvas
cm 44 x 32