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Artists Francesco Clemente
Francesco Clemente Photo

Francesco Clemente

Italian Painter and Mixed-Media Artist

Movement: Neo-Expressionism

Born: March 23, 1952 - Naples, Italy

Francesco Clemente Timeline

Quotes

"The challenge is to show - and if you want to show it, you have to see it yourself - that opposites are not opposite, but are embracing each other."
Francesco Clemente
"I still feel that for a painter the task is to put an object into the world that is not going to be an answer to anything. It's going to be a reality of its own. This was a reaction to a heavily ideological stance that belonged to the generation before mine."
Francesco Clemente
"My work is always in flux and in transition, changing according to the context. The only constant factor can be described as 'the continuity of discontinuity.' I would not be disturbed if sometimes I find my own work hard to understand."
Francesco Clemente
"I am attracted to cultural contamination, to inclusive views, to rituals, to handmade things, to anonymity, to anything that looks worn by time, to anything that has a feel of poverty and nobility at the same time."
Francesco Clemente

"Collaboration is part of my work because the assumption of my work is that our identities are fragmented identities, that we're [each] not just one person but many persons."

Francesco Clemente Signature

Synopsis

Acting as a dark shaman of the post-modern era while reacting against the dominance of increasing abstraction in preceding generations, Clemente helped reinvigorate painting by using recognizable human figures as his primary subject. In idiosyncratic and arresting images, he uses Neo-Expressionist techniques to represent late-20th-century people and their psychological conditions - fundamentally questioning what is real and what is of value to the human spirit. He has channeled his interests in literature, music, and film and blended them with philosophical ideas, signs and symbols drawn from other cultures (Hindu spiritualism in India, Tarot, and the Candomble religion of Brazil). His diverse approaches to making art have resulted in works that have decorated nightclubs and hotels, as well as gallery and museum walls.

Key Ideas

Clemente depicts many of the darker, unspoken or conflicting psychological aspects of being human, significantly updating earlier art movements of the late modern era, drawing on Surrealism's dream-like extensions and transgressions of ordinary daily life, and building on Expressionism's revelations of interior emotional states. In contrast to other prominent Neo-Expressionist painters such as Georg Baselitz and Julian Schnabel, Clemente embraces a wide range of cross-cultural ideas and symbols to address existential human issues.
He combines classical modes of composition - with timeless settings and hints of ancient mythologies - into striking and highly accessible images that express very contemporary ambivalences about the body, sexuality, and human relationships with nature and one another.
Clemente explores individual identity, and the various means for its construction by constantly questioning the idea of a singular self. Clemente's post-modern approach undermines earlier notions of a "unified ego" for individual human beings through artistic techniques such as distorting the faces and figures of individuals, as well as employing the literary techniques of allusion and allegory."

Biography

Francesco Clemente Photo

Childhood and Education

Francesco Clemente was born in 1952 to an aristocratic but not especially wealthy family in what he would come to refer to as the "old Greek city" of Naples, Italy. At the time, World War II was still a very recent memory, and the fascist regime of Mussolini had carved deep and jagged rifts within the nation's artistic community, its aesthetic values, and its relationship with the traditions of other countries.

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Francesco Clemente Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Francesco Clemente
Interactive chart with Francesco Clemente's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Sandro ChiaSandro Chia
Pier Paolo PasoliniPier Paolo Pasolini
Jean RenoirJean Renoir

Personal Contacts

Jean-Michel BasquiatJean-Michel Basquiat
Alighiero BoettiAlighiero Boetti
Allen GinsbergAllen Ginsberg
Andy WarholAndy Warhol

Movements

Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
MinimalismMinimalism
Neo-DadaNeo-Dada
SurrealismSurrealism

Influences on Artist
Francesco Clemente
Francesco Clemente
Years Worked: 1971 - present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Nicola De MariaNicola De Maria
Fred TomaselliFred Tomaselli

Personal Contacts

Enzo CucchiEnzo Cucchi

Movements

Neo-ExpressionismNeo-Expressionism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Tom Head

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Tom Head
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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