Paul Kasmin Gallery presents SIX, Saint Clair Cemin’s (b. 1951, Cruz Alta, Brazil) inaugural exhibition with the Gallery, on view at 515 W 27th Street from September 6 through October 13, 2012, alongside the artist’s New York public art debut. Stringing together the rational, the unknown, the unconscious, and the dream, the Brazilian sculptor combines his signature pluralistic style with both concrete and abstract expressions in this exhibition of six new sculptural works, all made in 2012. Beyond the walls of the gallery, Paul Kasmin Gallery partners with the Broadway Mall Association (a New York non-profit organization working to beautify and maintain the malls of Broadway from 70th Street to 168th Street) to present Saint Clair Cemin on Broadway, an exhibition of seven additional sculptures by Cemin at outdoor locations from September 6 through mid-November 2012.
“Cemin’s endgame modernism – a synthesis of old modern manners, breathing surreal new life into them – artfully condenses the absurdity in singularly perverse works,” says art historian and critic, Donald Kuspit, writer of numerous reviews and catalog essays on Cemin.
SIX illustrates surrealist sculptural snapshots of Cemin’s past, embodying his first experience of a profound sense of loss. Anchoring the gallery exhibition, a large piece titled Maman (the French word for “Mommy”) serves as both a surreal portrait of the artist’s mother and a philosophical reflection on the universal idea of mothers. The complex abstractionist works, World as Flow and Greece, seem to be one figure, acting out different stages of movement. Greece turns geometry inside out, as a four-armed and four-legged creature entangled in itself, illustrating the expansion of time, while World as Flow collapses in on itself to create a continuous, self-jailed structure.
Cemin creates surreal portraits of absurd characters, blurring the line between figuration and abstraction with The Shadow, And Then (I Close My Eyes), and Epimetheus. The Shadow, a precarious dark form crafted from lacquered wood, appears to have just risen from chaos into light. The proud and shiny sculpture Epimetheus boasts false hubris as the Titan who was famously duped. The polished stainless steel Buddha-like figure, And Then, captures a moment of desperation, to be spiritually sound with no satisfaction.
Opening on September 6, the Broadway Mall Association in collaboration with Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, New York City Department of Transportation and the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District will present an additional series of seven Cemin sculptures at outdoor locations beginning just south of Columbus Circle at the 57th Street Pedestrian Plaza and spanning 100 blocks along Broadway. Cemin’s monumental mirrored stainless steel sculpture, Vortex, will tower 40 feet high, embodying mankind’s desire for transcendence, whisking up into the clouds all that it reflects on its surface. Along six additional Broadway malls, stretching to W. 157th Street, Cemin will present sculptures in a range of material. These sculptures include: The Four, 1997, a Corten steel sculpture that longs to be at once both geometric and organic; In The Center, 2002, an ominous archetypical creature existing at the core of our minds; The Wind, 2002, a large white marble sculpture which appears like putty, kneaded and manipulated by giant hands; Aphrodite, 2006, a copper depiction of the ancient goddess in primitive form, representing the female figure simply and hieratically; O Pensador, 2008, a figure who sits on the ground, lost in deep contemplation; and Portrait of the Word Why, 2008, a mirrored stainless steel portrait of one of the most mysterious words in the English language.
About Saint Clair Cemin:
Born and raised in the rural town of Cruz Alta, Brazil, Cemin went on to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States as well as abroad and is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France; Fisher Landau Center For Art, Long Island City, NY; Rooseum, Stockholm, Sweden; The Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; and Inhotim, Minas Gerais, Brazil, among many others. Cemin currently lives in New York and has studios in Beijing and Red Hook, New York. Cemin will present a solo exhibition at the Centro Atlántico de Arte Contemporanea in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain, opening October 26, 2012.
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