fresco on metallic suppor with bar
30.05.09 | 12.10.09
Gallery Sperone Westwater
In the early 1980s Clemente switches from small to large format, executing works that, as far as the size is concerned, aspire to have an architectural function and to compete with the fresco, a technique he experiments both on metal objects (Everything I know, 1981; Lovers and Swastika, 1983), and on table (Untitled, 1983). My Parents, My House (1982) and My World War III (1983) are three big "teleri", mindful of the Venetian Renaissance tradition that the artist got to know in 1977 during a stay in the lacunar city. Characterized by a complex iconography and animated by a sort of horror vacui, these works mark the definitive separation of the artist from his personal past and the achievement of a new freedom of action. This freedom manifests itself through the undisciplined and unconventional use of iconographic elements drawn from the history of art as well as from popular traditions, or through the new creation of his imaginative world. In My House - started in Italy and completed in few days of hectic work in Berlin in order to be displayed in the collective exhibition Zeitgeist held at the Martin-Gripius Bau – the furniture is in fact covered by sheets and the house appears abandoned. In this larger-than-life image Clemente experiments for the first time in painting a strategy developed in 1975, excessively enlarging the photograph of one of his drawings focused on doubles and on binary couples. Similarly, My House is divided in two parts by an orange form that serves both as a ceiling and as a floor. The top of the painting features the Elephanta caves, in India, dating from the V-XI century AD. The presence of the Telamons and the capital with the Atlas suggests a tribute to two texts by Alberto Savinio: Casa "La vita" of 1943 and the short story La casa stupida, published in the collection Tutta la Vita of 1945, featuring once again the allegory of life both as a house full of everyday and allusive objects, and as a realm of memory and imagination. In an interview of 1981 the artist in fact mentions explicitly La casa stupida, underlining the value that the writer attached to memory, which according to him was embodied by the Telamon, who in the story supports the house.
[...] sitting in Madras at the Theosophical Society for several years, I was reading Indian authors who were familiar with the writings of Emerson, of Thoreau. So in India ...
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