Bringing together 108 works on paper, all of which are delicately and intimately scaled, Emblems of Transformation continues Clemente’s long-standing relationship with the medium of watercolour, and also, with India.
The number of works in the cycle references the amount of beads in the japa mala,which is commonly used by Hindus and Buddhists during prayer while changing, reciting or mentally repeating a mantra.
The watercolours feel allegorical or mythical, with symbolic imagery dancing from one to the next. Each is like a fragment from a whole that is continually shifting shape, never stagnant; respectively, they present a space or a world in their own right, and build to form one collective group.
Clemente has handled the medium of watercolour for many years and works have ranged from the figurative to the abstract. Many were produced in India including the Afternoon Raga series (1996-7), comprised of 21 paintings made in Pushkar, Rajasthan; Fifty-One Days on Mount Abu (1996), produced at this eponymous holy place of pilgrimage; and CVIII (1985), made in Madras.
his particular body of watercolours was executed in Jodhpur during 2014, in collaboration with Indian miniaturist painters from a workshop in this area of Rajasthan. This continues the artist’s long history of collaboration with Indian craftspeople and artists.
Published on the occasion of the exhibition Francesco Clemente: Emblems of Transformation at Blain|Southern, London, 29 April – 17 June 2015.