The Easel

The ecstatic nihilism of the painter Alberto Burri

After internment in Texas, Burri returned to an Italy impoverished by war. These straightened circumstances suited his interest in unconventional materials – burlap, tar, plastics. His radical idea was to present “material as the subject matter itself”. Rauschenberg and Johns were just two of many disciples. “Brutally gorgeous paintings” says the writer. Images are here.