Paul Kasmin Gallery presents Saint Clair Cemin’s (b. 1951, Cruz Alta, Brazil) inaugural exhibition with the Gallery, entitled SIX, on view at 293 Tenth Avenue from September 6 through October 13, 2012. 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.
“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, who has written numerous reviews and catalog essays on Cemin.
SIX illustrates surrealist sculptural snapshots of Cemin’s past, embodying his first experience with feeling a profound sense of loss. Anchoring the gallery exhibition is a large piece titled Maman (the French word for “Mommy”), 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 with a four-armed and four-legged creature entangled in itself, illustrating 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.