Francesco Clemente, Artist Interview

Alex Bacon interviewed Francesco Clemente for the Brooklyn Rail.
The advantage of working amidst social and cultural upheaval is that you don’t take for granted your position as an artist; you have to justify it. So my initial question was: how do I ground myself in a legitimate place? And the way to get to a legitimate place, for me, was to ask a further question—who is talking? When you ask that question, the answer is: the body is talking. Hence, my interest with the body. The connection with the culture and contemporary traditions of India enriched that answer in terms of expanding the view of the body from a mechanical, materialistic one to something more ambiguous and open, where the body became the border between inner and outer life.
I was really struck by how he envisioned his use of the body.
The body appeared as the only place that was not colonized, that was not controlled by the big ideological dogmas of the time—capitalism and communism. But this interest in the body came also from more remote times, from traditions of East and West, which see the body as a microcosm, a metaphor of the world according to the rule that “as it is above, so it is below.” more
Captive Pleasures  2010  Oil on canvas  86 1/2 x 69 3/4 in  219.7 x 177.2 cm

Francesco Clemente

Self-Portrait, The First  1979  Chinese Ink, pastel and gouache on paper, mounted on linen  44 1/8 x 57 7/8 in  112 x 147 cm


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