Alberto Burri

Città di Castello 1915 – Nice 1995

The Italian painter and sculptor Alberto Burri was born in Città di Castello, near Perugia, on March 12, 1915. He is associated with the materialist current of the European movement of « Art informel »; he also had ties with Lucio Fontana’s spatialism and alongside Antoni Tàpies, had an influence on the renewal of post-war assemblage art (Robert Rauschenberg) in America and in Europe.

After graduating from medical school in 1940, Alberto Burri was captured by the allied forces in 1943 in Tunisia, and was subsequently sent to the Hereford camp in Texas, where he started painting landscapes.

His first solo exhibition took place in 1947. From 1949 on he used burlap as a substitute for canvas. In 1951, Alberto Burri participated in the creation of the Origine group, with Mario Balloco, Ettore Colla and Guiseppe Capogrossi, who rejected the decorative effects of abstract art and explored the permanence of constructive reflections, such as reducing color to its most simple – yet peremptory and incisive - function. In 1952, Burri participated in the Venice biennial. The following year he was exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Burri’s artistic production, which is organized in series bearing such names as Sacchi, Combustioni, Cellotex, Legni, Plastiche, or Ferri (Bags, Combustions, Cellotex, Woods, Plastics, Irons) develops a material meditation on form and its transformative process. Dissolved by fire, attacked by mold, corroded or consumed by time, the material of his works « gets ruined » in the same artistic gesture which transforms it, leaving a residual image, the production of which is exhibited in the work itself.

Alberto Burri was exhibited at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris in 1972. In 1981 the Burri Foundation was inaugurated – a permanent collection of the works that the artist donated to his hometown.

He died in Nice in 1995.

The Italian painter and sculptor Alberto Burri was born in Città di Castello, near Perugia, on March 12, 1915. He is associated with the materialist current of the European movement of « Art informel »; he also had ties with Lucio Fontana’s spatialism and alongside Antoni Tàpies, had an influence on the renewal of post-war assemblage art (Robert Rauschenberg) in America and in Europe.

After graduating from medical school in 1940, Alberto Burri was captured by the allied forces in 1943 in Tunisia, and was subsequently sent to the Hereford camp in Texas, where he started painting landscapes.

His first solo exhibition took place in 1947. From 1949 on he used burlap as a substitute for canvas. In 1951, Alberto Burri participated in the creation of the Origine group, with Mario Balloco, Ettore Colla and Guiseppe Capogrossi, who rejected the decorative effects of abstract art and explored the permanence of constructive reflections, such as reducing color to its most simple – yet peremptory and incisive - function. In 1952, Burri participated in the Venice biennial. The following year he was exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Burri’s artistic production, which is organized in series bearing such names as Sacchi, Combustioni, Cellotex, Legni, Plastiche, or Ferri (Bags, Combustions, Cellotex, Woods, Plastics, Irons) develops a material meditation on form and its transformative process. Dissolved by fire, attacked by mold, corroded or consumed by time, the material of his works « gets ruined » in the same artistic gesture which transforms it, leaving a residual image, the production of which is exhibited in the work itself.

Alberto Burri was exhibited at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris in 1972. In 1981 the Burri Foundation was inaugurated – a permanent collection of the works that the artist donated to his hometown.

He died in Nice in 1995.

  • Combustion, 1960, mixed media on canvas, 100 x 70 cm

Combustion, 1960, mixed media on canvas, 100 x 70 cm

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