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FRANCESCO CLEMENTE. From the Albertina museum in Vienna.

Category: Exhibition 28. July 2022

In his allegorical works, Clemente sometimes deals with the creative process itself - and the conflicts and anxieties associated with it.

The Albertina's solo exhibition, now underway, focuses on the medial and thematic diversity of his oeuvre. Clemente is considered a representative of the Transvanguardia, an eclectic-mystical art movement whose subjective and emotional orientation in Italy followed the preceding arte povera and its rational conceptual art.  

Born in Naples in 1952, Clemente initially studied architecture in Rome. He abandoned his studies and then devoted himself to painting as a self-taught artist. In the early 1970s he traveled to India, the country and its culture were a formative influence on the rest of his life. He had a studio in Madras from 1977 and spent some time in the Theosophical Society of Madras, where he studied religious and spiritual themes. His interest in spirituality, non-European cultures and local folk culture led him to collaborate with Indian sign painters and other artisans. The subjects of that creative period became his trademark: the human figure, especially women's bodies, self-portraiture, dream visions, sexuality, myths and Eastern spirituality with its symbolism.

Clemente returned to Rome in 1979 and from 1981 he commuted between Italy and New York, where he met Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat and collaborated with both artists for some time. Francesco Clemente has been an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 2002. He lives and works in New York, Rome, and Varanasi, India.

The Jablonka Collection, acquired by the Albertina, includes many important works by Francesco Clemente, and some of the key works in this exhibition also come from the museum's own collection, in addition to a new series of oil paintings: "Sirens". The exhibition runs until 30. October.

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