Aligi Sassu, Memories on Paper

Heritage Malta?s National Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Amici dell?Arte di Aligi Sassu and Archivio Aligi Sassu is hosting a major exhibition featuring works on paper by the renowned Italian artist Aligi Sassu. Aligi Sassu, Memories on Paper (March 24th – May 31st 2012) inaugurates the centenary celebrations of the birth of the birth of the artist (1912-2000), and will later proceed to Besana di Brianza (Monza, Italy) to remain there until July, 17th 2013.

This is the first ever exhibition of this renowned Italian artist in Malta. Sassu started his artistic career at a very young age. When he was only 16 he was invited by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the Father of Futurism, to present two works at the Venice Biennale of 1928 together with another Italian young artist, also internationally acknowledged, Bruno Munari.

The exhibition features 20 works selected are a synthesis of Sassu?s most important series, all unpublished works on paper coming from the private archives of the artist. The works cover a period of about 60 years, mid 1930s to mid 1990s, spacing from Futurism, to Primitivism, to Realism. This first Maltese exhibition emphasises the importance of drawing in Sassu’s art. Most of Sassu’s works, if not all of them, started as a series of drawings that were then developed into paintings, sculptures, ceramics, mosaics. The variety of the production is indeed one of the reasons why the artist is acknowledged in Italy and internationally. However, it must be noted that drawings were not only seen as a preparation or as an unfinished stage in the creative process, they were also and especially a necessity for the artist, who was always eager to note down feelings, memories, images, passions. The Caff?s on display, on the other hand, are a reflection of his stay in Paris in the 1930s, where he studied the French Masters of the 19th century and he was impressed by the lights and the social life that he experienced in that city. And the exhibition procedes with other significant series like the famous horses, the battles, the mythological scenes and the Spanish period, represented here by a bullfight. In fact, Sassu lived between Milan and Mallorca from the 1960s and felt the Spanish island as a newly found Sardinia.

The merit of this exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts is that of making the Maltese audience aware of, and hopefully intrigued by, the artistic paths undertaken by Aligi Sassu through works featuring great freedom of inspiration and exquisite lightness of signs.