Francesco Clemente: Three Worlds

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9780876330845: Francesco Clemente: Three Worlds

Francesco Clemente (born in Naples March 23, 1952) is an Italian-born contemporary artist. His work is influenced by thinkers as diverse as Gregory Bateson, William Blake, Allen Ginsberg, and J Krishnamurti. Dividing his time between New York and Varanasi, India, Clemente has adopted for his paintings a vast variety of supports and mediums, exploring, discarding, and returning to oil paint, watercolor, pastel, and printmaking. His work develops in a non-linear mode, expanding and contracting in a fragmentary way, not defined by a style, but rather by his recording of the fluctuations of the self. His work is also nomadic. In the 1980s he divided his time between India and New York. While briefly associated with Neo-Expressionism he took an interest in collaborative works both with Indian craftsmen and with painters like Basquiat and Warhol, and poets like Robert Creeley and Ginsberg in New York. In an interview with The Brooklyn Rail, Clemente commented "these poets had been looking at the East for inspiration and I was also anxious to evade the materialism of the West." In the 1990s Clemente explored intensely erotic imagery, inspired by the Tantra traditions both of India and Tibet, and turning contemporary preoccupations with identity and sexuality into an occasion to ask questions about the nature of the self. In the 2000s Clemente underwent a darker and grotesque phase, returning in recent years to luminous images of repose and transformation. Since the 1980s until today, Clemente has also chronicled New York intellectual and social life through a great number of portraits, contributing to the revival of a genre until then somehow discredited. Clemente's art has been presented in solo and group shows internationally. This is the catalogue for the exhibition in 1990-91 traveled from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT, to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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From Publishers Weekly:

One of the most imaginative figurative artists of his generation, Francesco Clemente gives concrete form to psychic states, febrile projects of his relentless quest for unity. In Hunger , a bent, apparently nude man bites down bloodily on the trunk of a huge snake coiled in a circle, devouring its own tail against an ominous smoky violet sky and green sea. Glowingly colorful portraits evoke shades of despair, guilt, joy, rage, rebellion and disillusionment. One series of paintings fuses the style of classical Indian miniatures with popular, kitsch, erotic and mythological imagery. The Naples-born painter, who divides his time between Rome, New York and Madras, creates a fragmentary circus of the mind whose phantasms attest to the fact that every artwork is an open-ended set of possibilities resisting literal definition. This lavishly illustrated catalogue documents a touring exhibition that opened at the Philadelphia Museum, where Percy is curator of drawings. Foye is a publisher of prints and art books.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

In dreamlike juxtaposition, ordinary objects and images float through the traditional materials with which Clemente creates his unique world. These images, in ink, gouache, watercolor, and a variety of other media, are at times disturbing, amusing, and provocative but always original. This work, published in conjunction with a traveling exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, presents the synthesis of the influences of geography and culture upon the artist. There is mysticism and kitsch, mythology and classical art in the small-scale, surreal world of Clemente. Accompanying text explores the personality and performance in biographical, geographical, and philosophical aspects and excellent illustrations point up the theme of renewal outside everyday experience.
- Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Raymond Foye; Ann Percy; Francesco Clemente; Stella Kramrisch; Ettore Sottsass
Published by Philadelphia Museum of Art (1989)
ISBN 10: 0876330847 ISBN 13: 9780876330845
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Foye, Raymond, Percy, Ann, Clemente, Fra
Published by Philadelphia Museum of Art (1989)
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