NEW HAVEN, CT.- The Yale School of Art
presents an exhibition of some thirty paintings made by the Italian artist Francesco Clemente between 2006 and 2008, over the course of several extended trips to Brazil. These are drawn from a large body of work from this periodboth oils on canvas and large-format watercolorsin which Clemente explored images and themes that had been central to his art for many years, as well as ideas and iconography indigenous to Brazil. The exhibition, titled Clemente > Brazil > Yale, is organized by Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale School of Art.
In discussing the paintings, Mr. Storr states, Emblems of everyday life blend with those of traditional Catholicism and fuse in Clementes work, as that faith does in Brazilian culture. Signs and symbols draw from the Afro-Brazilian heritage of Candomble, like Voodoo, a variant of Yoruba animism that was brought to the Americas by slaves. (Roughly 35% of all Africans brought to the Western Hemisphere in bondage were delivered to Brazil, which, in 1888, was the last nation engaged in the trans- Atlantic slave trade to abolish involuntary servitude.) Here, as in Clementes other work linking Indian mysticism to European hermeticism, the underlying subject is the interpenetration of diverse cultures and the intrinsically syncretic nature of transcendental aspiration.
Although a group of watercolors was shown in New York, and several oils were exhibited in Berlin a few years ago, this is the first time that a substantial, integrated ensemble of these works has been seen in the United States, or, for that matter, in the Americas. The selection for this presentation includes twelve works on canvas and eighteen works on paper.
Born in Naples, Italy, in 1952, Francesco Clemente lives and works in New York City; Rome, Italy; and Madras, India.
Established in 2009, the Yale School of Arts 32 Edgewood Gallery originates exhibitions of important contemporary art from around the world, expanding the role of contemporary art at Yale University, in the city of New Haven, and in the North Eastern seaboard region generally. Past initiatives have included a survey of recent work in diverse media by artists from India and the Indian Diaspora; an exhibition of the multimedia production of the late New Zealander Darcy Lange; a multimedia installation by award-winning Romanian artist Mircea Nicolae; a synoptic overview of work by Malcolm Morley; an exhibition of work by influential Brazilian artist Jac Leirner; and the winter 2013 presentation titled KATZ X KATZ, which provided a comprehensive overview of the work of Alex Katz, among the most ubiquitous American figures in the international art world today. In addition, in the fall of 2012, the 32 Edgewood Gallery hosted an exhibition featuring the work of Sophie Calle and Shirin Neshat, part of a larger Yale initiative titled Shaping Community: Poetics and Politics of the Eruv, organized by Margaret Olin, senior research scholar, Yale Divinity School.