Ten years after the important retrospective exhibition held at the Guggenheim museum of New York, Francesco Clemente (b. 1952, Naples) returns to his home town and to the museum where in 2005 he worked for 4 months on a fresco of monumental proportions, shown in two different rooms, as well as on a ceramic floor that with the memory of childhood illustrated the ancient places and symbols of Naples.
Eight sections and more than 100 works describe the continuous “sailing” of the artist from his birthplace (the Italian culture and in particular the Neapolitan culture) towards Rome, India, the States, and his always going back “home”. The title refers to the metaphor of philosopher Hans Blumenberg in his book Shipwreck with the Spectator. Clemente’s artistic path from 1974 to 2004 in fact is associated with a shipwreck, and the works on show are the fragments, the pieces of the wreck. The spectator is the artist himself who observes his thirty-year journey, made up of many steps, looking for a reconciliation between the heritage of Greco-Roman antiquity and a contemporary take on the world. An interior conflict that “comes to surface” when you observe Clemente’s trajectory, his continuous references to ancient philosophy, to symbology and mythology, but also to religious practice, through arcane images, ambivalent forms, deformed self-portraits as well as through the technical and stylistic experimentations ranging from oil to watercolour, from fresco to mosaic.
A special section, created on the occasion of the exhibition, displays 10 new works executed in 2009 and never shown before, that go under the title of “In meiner Heimat” . Heimat is a German word that indicates the territory in which you feel at home because you were born there, you spent your childhood there or your beloved ones live there. Gathered under the section titled “Maps”, this group of works presents the places to which Clemente refers throughout his artistic journey.
The exhibition also features the drawings that Francesco Clemente executed to illustrate the new short story by Salman Rushdie titled In the South, written on the occasion of this show and attached to the Electa catalogue.
Museo Madre Website