The exhibition dedicated to Alberto Burri (Città di Castello, Italy, 1915 - Nice, France, 1995) brings together an extensive selection of paintings produced between 1949 - Burri gains prominence in the international contemporary art scene at the beginning of the Fifties - and 1994, reflecting the coherence and continuity Burri maintained throughout his career, which falls under the material Informalism movement. After earning a degree in medicine in 1940 and working as an official medic in World War Two, his unit is captured in Tunisia and sent to a concentration camp in Texas, where he begins to paint in 1945. Upon his return to Italy he settles in Rome, but also travels to Paris and New York, where he participates in various exhibitions. His involvement in the collective exhibition Younger European Artists in the Guggenheim museum in 1953 means his work gains international attention and recognition, further bolstered by his participation at the 1959 São Paulo Biennial and being awarded the Critic's Prize at the 1960 Venice Biennial.
Burri's work, anti-establishment in terms of the formulations of the decorative nature of abstraction in post-war Europe, perseveres with the radical interventions of subject matter, leading him to use a distinctive method of developing pictorial fields. While other artists give priority to immediacy, expressive instinct and gestures in their approaches to pictorial subject matter, Burri aspires to construct compositions based on equilibrium.
His explorations into “polimaterismo” cause him to renounce academic rules on painting altogether and break away from traditional two-dimensional surfaces. With the Sacchi (Sack) pieces Burri attracts widespread attention, causing a huge scandal. He subsequently experiments with the Ferri (Iron) pieces and the Legni (wood) compositions. The Plastica (Plastic) works denote Burri's ingenuity that begins in the Sixties and lasts for almost a decade as he burns the material, just as he had done previously with paper and wood, using it like a brush. In the Seventies he creates his series Cretti (cracks), supported by the discovery of cellotexi, containing kaolin and glue, while the series Nero e oro (Black and Gold) portrays the elegance of his later work. Burri is considered one of the pillars of 20th century Italian art, alongside Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni.