404 NW 26th Street, Miami
Tony Goldman and Jeffrey Deitch presented the first project for the new exhibition program at the Goldman Warehouse, Francesco Clemente's monumental work A History of the Heart in Three Rainbows. The Goldman Warehouse was at the center of the Wynwood Arts District in Miami and hosted an annex of Miami MoCA for the past four years. Starting with the Clemente exhibition, the Goldman Warehouse embarked on its independent exhibition program. The Clemente exhibition was presented in partnership with Deitch Projects, New York.
Francesco Clemente spent more then a year creating A History of the Heart in Three Rainbows, a remarkable 180 foot long suite of large scale watercolor paintings. The work continued the artist's ongoing project of transforming spiritual life experience in to art. For Clemente, the rainbow was a bridge, a structure to bring things together, like religion in its original sense. The rainbow represented the necessity to connect different worlds. The translucence of the rainbow connected with the translucence of watercolor. The rainbow unmasked the nature of light and watercolor brought the light out of paper. In watercolor, the artist did not build the highlights - they were the parts the artist does not touch. The light was behind the paint.
Clemente thought for a long time about embracing watercolor painting on a large scale. Events in his life led to the rainbow, and the rainbow was the reason to extend the scale. The work began as three sixty-foot long rainbow paintings, probably the largest watercolors ever made. The artist then cut the large sheets into five equal sections. His cutting of each of his three rainbows into five parts was an important element of the work. The mind stitched them back together. A principal theme was the reconciliation of opposites - cutting and putting back together.
The artist's affinity with watercolor derived in part from its immediacy. He cited one of Allen Ginsberg's mantras, "First thought - Best thought." There was no going back with watercolor. It was impossible to correct. Watercolor was also a modern medium. It was associated with traveling, something that had always been part of the artist's practice. The three rainbows developed the same narrative three times. Why were there three rainbows? Clemente asserted that the first step was to count, and that spontaneity was possible only within a strict formal structure. In candomble, the AfroBrazilian ritual practice that Clemente had been studying, one looked at the rainbow from left to right and then went back and looked from right to left. It was like the definition of painting. The narrative was reversible.
The figures suggested a sense of vulnerability and flux. Clemente was not fond of naturalistic depictions. In his work, everything lived in the mind and the works were anchors for the mind. In the narrative, the heart was the lead character. The heart was a generative power and brought a proliferation of images and luminosity. It was the opposite of William Blake's definition of Satan, who was unprolific and opaque. In Clemente's narrative, the heart went from isolation to fragmentation, to entanglement, and finally to freedom, transformation, and metamorphosis. According to the artist, one should only follow paths that had a heart.
The iconography of the work derived from Clemente's interest in contemplative traditions and the language of these traditions: the tantric from India, the alchemic from Europe, and candomble from the Americas. He never quoted from these traditions in an orthodox way.
The format came out of a long history of the panorama in Clemente's work. It also followed his exploration of the double square. The six by twelve foot size of each of the panels was a double square, a symbol of unity and reconciliation.
The artist considered his paintings to be ritual implements. They functioned as mnemonics, keys to remembering the practice of daily ritual. The harlequin that appeared in the narrative was an icon of the fragmentation of self, a surrogate for the artist and a link to man's primeval nature. The artist noted that the earliest image of a harlequin was
a man covered in leaves. The webs, cages, and fences in the paintings may have meant confinement, but they also connoted the interrelationship of all things, and ultimately, freedom.
A History of the Heart in Three Rainbows was first exhibited at Deitch Projects in New York in May 2009. The exhibition was accompanied by a book with an essay by the Noble Prize-winning author Derek Walcott. A retrospective exhibition of the work of Francesco Clemente was presented by MADRE, the Museo d' Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina in Naples last summer. Last year, Clemente was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to create a series of eight portraits of the leading sopranos. An exhibition of these works was presented at Gallery Met during the summer of 2008.
The Wynwood Arts District included over 70 artists spaces and galleries. That year, also in partnership with Deitch Projects, Goldman Properties initiated the Wynwood Walls project with outdoor mural works by leading artists including Shepard Fairey, Futura, Os Gemeos, and Swoon.
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
18 Wooster Street
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday
10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday – Saturday
Noon – 6 PM
The gallery reopens with People in April 2018.
+1 (212) 343-7300
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