Yale School of Art presents ‘Clemente > Brazil > Yale’

An exhibition of recent paintings by Italian artist Francesco Clemente will open at the Yale School of Art on Monday, April 1. 

Francesco Clemente’s “Actors of the Terreiro XXVI,” 2007 (Photograph by Beth Phillips)

Titled “Clemente > Brazil > Yale,” the show will feature works created by the artist between 2006 and 2008 over the course of several extended trips to Brazil. The paintings are drawn from a large body of work from this period — both oils on canvas and large-format watercolors — in which Clemente explored images and themes that had been central to his art for many years, as well as ideas and iconography indigenous to Brazil. 

“Emblems of everyday life blend with those of traditional Catholicism and fuse in Clemente’s work, as that faith does in Brazilian culture,” says Robert Storr, dean of the Yale School of Art and curator of the exhibition. “Signs and symbols draw from the Afro-Brazilian heritage of Candomble — like Voodoo, a variant of Yoruba animism that was brought to the Americas by slaves.

“Here, as in Clemente’s other work linking Indian mysticism to European hermeticism, the underlying subject is the interpenetration of diverse cultures and the intrinsically syncretic nature of transcendental aspiration,” Storr continues.

Francesco Clemente’s “Father,” 2006-2007. (Photograph by Beth Phillips)

The Yale exhibition includes 12 works on canvas and 18 works on paper. According to the organizers, the exhibition marks the first time that a substantial, integrated ensemble of these works has been seen in the United States.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the School of Art will present a conversation between the artist and Storr on Wednesday, April 3, 6:30-7:30 p.m., in Rm. 204, 36 Edgewood Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

“Clemente > Brazil > Yale” will be on view through June 2 at the School of Art’s 32 Edgewood Gallery. For more information, including hours and directions, visit the school’s website.

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