In Paris last week I stopped by�Galerie Templon near the Centre Pompidou to see Francesco Clemente’s charming new paintings. An Italian artist who travels between�New York,�Rome, New Mexico and India, Clemente�was one of the painters involved in the�rebirth of figurative painting and the movement known as�Neo-Expressionism�during the 1980s.��
The�36 small paintings�in the exhibition, accompanied by a plaster sculpture and 2 frescos, explore love and loss.�Their power hinges on Clemente’s�fearless paint handling and matte,�layered surfaces, rather than�complex ideas or imagery. In a recent interview in the Huff Po, he�lamented that so much art today is neutral and academic, rooted in ideas rather than experience. For Clemente, art is informed by�life–not research, politics, or post-structuralist theory. In terms of style, he�prefers to give�himself the�freedom to explore diverse approaches.
It was my intention from the beginning to not anchor myself to a particular solution, or a particular style. At the same time, that is my strength because it means that everything I do is fresh, and my weakness because I am constantly beginning, which means that I never know what I am doing. Also, the goal of my work is to remind the viewer of the necessity to be fluid, to be in a constant state of transformation…
My paintings are tied to the changes in my life and they�re tied to a sense of synchronicity. I�m a believer in synchronicity. You know, the simplest example of synchronicity is when you think of someone and then you turn the corner and you see that person. I am very much in touch with that kind of resonance and symmetry in life, where things don�t happen on their own, they happen in clusters. They all bounce against each other. I�m a listener… I listen to the harmony of life and I translate that in my paintings.