Saint Clair Cemin

"I do not think that you can capture life with language.
You can use language as a pointing device." - Saint Clair Cemin

2012 stainless steel, bronze, edition of 3

"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 additional seven sculptures by Cemin at outdoor locations from early September through November 2012.

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."
text taken from gallery press release..

Greece, 2012, edition of 3, bronze

"Paris is a wonderful city, but in the ‘70s was quite boring for a young man. It was not the kind of atmosphere that made me feel as if I could progress, simple as that. In Europe you are what you are born into. There is no notion that you are what you make yourself to be. This is completely an American notion. It’s very fertile here for people who have ideas. You don’t know how hard it is in Europe to find information and tools for any craft, it’s unbelievable. Professional secrets are guarded inside…"

"I was seeing that there are entire populations of objects which are proletarian: stuff that’s cast out, that is supposed to be so uncool and so out of fashion, so absurd, or completely objectionable. I think if they are so objectionable, then there must be something very interesting about them. They’re objectionable to the intellectuals, and they are devoured by the masses. I was quite used to intellectual discourse, but I have the impression that life is not that. I do not think that you can capture life with language. You can use language as a pointing device. Language is an excellent tool. It’s being glorified by people like Lacan. My project was to use my studio as a laboratory. But I felt that to use the studio as a concept and then to show all the work as part of that concept was a really cheap trick, and would immediately cut me off from the very people whom I wanted to have access to—regular people who look at things and say, oh, this is a nice object, or it’s not a nice object. I like it, or I don’t like it. It’s that mentality which is pre-conceptual art. I just introduced pieces as pieces, each piece is itself, and that’s it."

(text taken from BOMB, interview with Saint Clair Cemin, read full interview here. )

Paul Kasmin here.