Francesco Clemente: Winter Flowers
LGDR & Wei, Hong Kong
March 20 - April 29, 2023
Francesco Clemente: Winter Flowers (2023), presented by LGDR & Wei, was the artist’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. The presentation featured fourteen new paintings completed in 2023 from the artist’s radiant series, meditating on resilience, presence, and pleasure. Clemente collaborated on his Winter Flowers series with his wife of nearly five decades, the actress and choreographer Alba Primiceri. In the winter of 2010, Alba brought flowers plucked from the city’s parks and gardens to the artist’s New York studio. Inspired by their enduring beauty, Clemente embarked on a series of floral paintings using a carefully determined selection of plant and vegetable pigments. As they took form, their relation to the winter season became consonant with the artist’s contemplation of old age. While the flower has been used in traditional vanitas paintings to represent impermanence and the inevitability of decay, Clemente depicts blossoms to celebrate the beauty of all stages of life.
The Winter Flowers canvases, each in a large square format, feature abundant displays of color, texture, and form. Clemente has compared his process in painting these canvases to that of weaving, wherein compositional threads appear and disappear. Rather than developing linearly, the paintings grow in surprising directions from various centers of interest. This mode of creating, he explains, corresponds most to his understanding of consciousness: “I believe that the most accurate description of our consciousness is continuity of discontinuity. So, I indicate with my work the fact that we have a fragmented self and I’m interested in the gaps that separate all our different personas.” Throughout his career, Clemente has returned to botanical motifs, whether as ornamental vegetation or symbolically redolent perennials. With Winter Flowers, the artist offers a deeply personal yet universally resonant reflection on temporality and joy.