b. 1952, Naples
Francesco Clemente is best known for the signature themes of the human form, particularly women’s bodies; his own image; sexuality; myth and spirituality; non-Western symbols; and dreamlike visions. In the United States, where he has a residence in New York City, Clemente is often categorized as a "neo-expressionist", otherwise known as Italian Transavantguardia. Clementes paintings also contain visual elements of Surrealism. He is said to eschew such labels.
" I'm at the age where I don't need an acid trip to feel naked.. to feel that I don't exist. Now a self-portrait is almost a reminder to me that I do exist."
Clemente's earliest works were ink on paper.
|Harlequin Close Up 1978|
Ink and colored pencil on nine sheets of paper, mounted on linen
oil on linen
(the shift to oils and watercolors in the 1880's)
|A History of the Heart in Three Rainbows (III) 2009|
"To me the poets are closer than I am to the idea of voice, to a sort of primeval song that we all participate in. Maybe they express more directly a sense of sympathy for other human beings. Painting is a little bit more of a retreat from human beings in real life; painting is more about the extreme moments when speech doesn't help anymore."
|After Attar’s “The Conference of the Birds” II |
"The original impulse in my life as an artist was to write and to break from writing into image."
Note: It was incredibly difficult for me to choose which works of Francesco Clemente to include in this feature. Having discovered his work within the last few days and being entirely smitten with it, I perhaps gathered too many images, almost liking them all in one way or another. I chose to post them chronologically in an effort to not only reign in my enthusiasm and create a post of sensible length but also to discover in what ways his work has evolved.
Here are a few more works of Clemente's for which I don't have exact dates but that are too visually and intellectually exciting (at least to my eye) to leave out.
" There's poetry in the world. Poetry doesn't belong just to the poets. You know, you can look at the most premeditated, cold blooded movie and find poetry in it."
|Alba, the artist's wife|
"When you sit for an hour and a half in front of somebody, he or she shows about twenty faces. And so it's this crazy chase of, Which face? Which one is the one?"