The group of works which gives the exhibition its title make up part of a single composition structured around seven areas, signalling the preoccupations which have marked his work during recent decades in his search for the eternal within the contemporary. As an archaeologist of consciousness, Clemente seeks to bring together elements that for him belong to the same complex and universal reality: tradition and imagination, antiquity and modernity, East and West, spirituality and sensuality, past and present, individual and collective memory.
This variety is matched by his technical experimentation, which often places him at the limits of traditional artistic practice and is reflected in the different materials, media and painting supports that he uses: oil, pastel, watercolour, fresco, tempera on paper or canvas, sculpture, printed works. Choosing a roll of large-format paper to register both the trace of the brushstroke and of his own movement over the support, he puts the creative process into relief, giving a sense of continuity and dynamism, as well as the space in which it is created, and what that sense suggests. The vibrant and luminous colours, for which he has a particular instinct, seem to pulse on the paper’s surface with an almost watery texture that harks back to the origin of life.
His liberal arts education in languages and classical literature, as well as architecture, together with his intellectual preoccupations, have led him to frequent collaborations with writers, and he has illustrated books or texts by artists such as Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, John Wieners and René Ricard. At the same time, he has also worked together with other contemporary artists of the stature of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat on projects that stand alongside works created in co-operation with the Indian craftsmen he meets on his regular visits to Chennai (Madras).