The exhibition curated by Max Seidel and organized by Marzia Faietti is the result of the collaboration between Francesco Clemente (Napoli, 1952), the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi and the participation of the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
For this exhibition Francesco Clemente has created a series of 78 works, inspired by tarot cards and a series of 12 self-portraits with the characteristic traits of the Twelve Apostles.
Through his unique artistic sensitivity and subtle ironic vein, Clemente has renewed the symbolic universe that characterizes these cards, realising a series of works of great artistic value. The artist, who has always been interested in the languages of contemplative traditions, has interlaced esoteric allusions, traditional iconography and purely personal references, drawing profoundly symbolic images from them. Clemente’s private cosmos is especially evident in the numerous portraits of people dear to the artist that appear on some of these cards. These cover a variety of personalities from the worlds of art, literature, theatre, cinema and his personal life, with which Clemente visually connects different artistic and intellectual disciplines. This can be considered as a sort of a bridge which builds the fundaments of his artistic reflections.
The cards were created in different parts of the world including Naples, New York, Madras (India) and Taos (New Mexico) and thus constitute a journey across the private geography of Clemente that is deeply rooted to each of these places. From the point of view of technique as well, these works on paper are characterized by extreme diversity and willingness to experiment: ink, pastel, tempera, watercolour and collage are variously used on the sheets, punctuating the artist’s great technical skill.
Besides the tarot cards Clemente will also exhibit a series of 12 self-portraits which portray him in the guise of the Twelve Apostles, created especially for the Uffizi. In every image appears, besides of the common attributes – the skin of the martyrdom of St. Bartholomew, the saw of St. Simon, the bag of coins of St. Matthew or Judah’s kiss – the artist’s self-portrait, recurring also several times on the same screen.
A self-portrait will be donated to the Gallery and will enrich the museum’s collection of self-portraits by contemporary artists. The catalogue, published by the German Hirmer Verlag, includes texts by Marzia Faietti, Antonio Natali, Francesco Pellizzi and Max Seidel and a preface by Cristina Acidini. Editing of the catalogue and scholarly assistance to the curator are by Carlotta Castellani.