Saint Clair Cemin uses conventional sculptural materials (such as wood, marble, and bronze) and traditional methods of carving, casting, and molding, but he incorporates elements of surprise, humor, and mystery in order to endow his sculpture with a physical and conceptual completeness that will communicate in a visual and subconscious manner. Cemin creates sculptures that strive to satisfy the human consciousness on many levels, and he constructs objects that are connected to the culture from which the come.
His objects are typically hybrids of forms and materials that suggest conglomerations of furniture, statuary, and souvenirs, and that feature jarring contrasts in style and technique, such as combining hand-made elements with machine-finished parts. UNTITLED (WITH BRACES) exhibits Cemin's interest in juxtaposing unexpected materials in unusual configurations. In this work, he has obsessively carved a single monolith of wood, reducing the center to a thin and fragile connection that would quickly break if not supported by the elaborate and incongruous art nouveau-style bronze braces.
Cemin's ZEN GARDEN is an imaginary setting that combines four different materials, textures, and colors, and displays the artist's concerns with the formal aspects of sculptural object's placement, balance, geometry, and dimensions. WASHDOG presents the artist's comment on the human condition using an animal form. The sculpted animal is not a "watch dog," but a dig that is frozen into an eternity of washing in a tub. Cemin has also included a pair of circular "handles" in the sculpture to conceptually hold the animal in servitude. in ZENO, Cemin has translated an ancient Greek philosophical concept into an arrow or bird shaped object that appears to be flying, yet is solid and stationary. The piece is cast in weighty bronze, and includes a drop of liquid suspended in space and forever falling.
The artist states that: "One of my goals has been to investigate to process of meaning formation in Art (and life) and all its particularities: reception, attraction, repulsion, etc. In order to achieve this, I started tampering with the constituents of the work and dealing with issues which were considered obsolete or even foreign to Art. These "experiments' which are the individual works, begin to define a region of meaning."
Saint Clair Cemin was born in Cruz Alta., Brazil, in 1951, and studied at the Ecole Nationale Superore des Beaux Arts, Paris. He has been exhibiting his sculptures since 1979 at international galleries and museums, including the Arts Club of Chicago: Birmingham Museum of Art, ALabama: Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Hayward Gallery, London; and Kunsthalle, Basel. In 1994, Cemin was honored with a retrospective exhibition held at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Monterrey, Mexico, and the Miami Art Museum, Florida. The artist currently lives in Manhattan and works as his studio in Brooklyn.
Richard D. Marshall, Curator
Works in the Exhibition:
Bronze with green patina
HOMAGE TO THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY, 1987
TEN MINUTE ELEPHANT, 1987
Collection of Brian Ramnarine
UNTITLED (WITH BRACES), 1990
Bronze and carved walnut
Collection of Brian Ramnarine
ZEN TANK, 1990
Marble, redwood, bronze, and alabaster
WOMAN'S HEAD, 1999
MUSA EUROPA, 1994-2000