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In the early 1950s, Burri made a number of works using sacking. Some included the original printing found on the sacks, acknowledging their origins as part of the relief effort for post-war Europe. The addition of red paint, reminiscent of blood, was seen as a link to the artist’s early training as a doctor. However, Burri dismissed these sombre interpretations, insisting that he strove for an art that was independent of references. He described his painting as ‘a freedom attained, constantly consolidated, vigilantly guarded’.

April 2009