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Image of Francesco Clemente: again, again and again installation view
Installation view, "Francesco Clemente: again, again and again," LGDR Paris 2022. Photo: Arthus Boutin.

Francesco Clemente

again, again and again

January 27 – March 5 2022

LGDR inaugurates its Paris program with Francesco Clemente: again, again and again, featuring works that spotlight Francesco Clemente’s mystical approach to the physical world and masterful engagement with painterly expression. The exhibition debuts the Five Elements series of watercolors, which explore the Tantric elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space-sound, alongside recently completed paintings from the Winter Flowers series that meditate on the exquisite ephemerality of flowers. With these distinct bodies of work, Clemente reflects on the dichotomy between permanence and impermanence in both art and nature. The artist will also create a temporary wall drawing on the occasion of the exhibition, further manifesting his interest in material transience.

A lifelong nomad, Clemente has traveled through and settled in countries around the world since his first trip to India in the early 1970s, where he studied Hindu spiritual texts while learning from local craftsmen. Cross-cultural influences—and encounters with ancient cosmological symbols and precepts—permeate the works on display in Paris. The watercolors evoke eternal change and biological cycles by referencing the five fundamentals of all matter in the venerable Tantra traditions of India and Tibet. Their luminous veils of color are complemented by a surrounding wall drawing in red paint and chalk that depicts figures and objects, in Clemente’s words, “set free from the dichotomies of mechanical life.”

Juxtaposed with these vivid watercolors are new Winter Flowers paintings created between 2016 and 2022. These works are based on flower arrangements that Clemente’s wife, Alba Primiceri, culled from public parks and flowerbeds one winter and placed in his New York studio. The artist became preoccupied with the persistence of such flora weathering the cold. Infused with a sense of introspection and deliberation, each canvas overflows with larger-than-life petals in a delicate array of colors and textures, borne from precisely selected plant and vegetable pigments. While recalling the vanitas tradition of painting, in which flowers symbolize corporeal transience, Clemente’s Winter Flowers works are steadfast in affirming the enduring power of fleeting beauty and art’s unique potential to capture it.

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