Influenced by thinkers as diverse as Gregory Bateson, William Blake, Allen Ginsberg, and J Krishnamurti, the art of Francesco Clemente is inclusive and nomadic, crossing many borders, intellectual and geographical. Dividing his time between New York and Varanasi, in India, he has adopted for his paintings a vast variety of supports and mediums, exploring, discarding, and returning to oil paint, watercolor, pastel, and printmaking. His work develops in a non-linear mode, expanding and contracting in a fragmentary way not defined by a style, but rather by his recording of the fluctuations of the self, as he experiences it. The goal is to embrace an expanded consciousness, and to witness, playfully and ironically, the survival of the ecstatic experience in a materialistic society.
Francesco Clemente was born in Naples, Italy in 1952. Following his architectural studies in Rome, Clemente traveled to Afghanistan with his friend Alighiero Boetti. Throughout the 1970s he exhibited works that reflected his interest in the contemplative traditions of India, where he lived for several years. Clemente is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Major solo exhibitions of Clemente’s work have been held at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Kunsthalle Frankfurt, The Royal Academy of Arts in London, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Clemente is held in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Miami Art Museum, Kunstmuseum Basel, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Clemente lives and works in New York, Rome and Madras, India.