The publication Saint Clair Cemin appeared in conjunction with the exhibition Saint Clair Cemin & Jessica Stockholder at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (15 June – 28 July 1991).
Saint Clair Cemin was born and raised in Cruz Alta, Brazil. He was educated in Paris, where he lived since 1969. In 1978 he moved to New York where he began building his oeuvre. This summary provides an initial explanation of the cosmopolitan expression in Saint Clair Cemin’s sculpture. His art has been unmistakenly that of a man of the world – of someone who can tell us about sculpture, like that of Arp, Miro, Giacommeti and Flanagan again. But Cemin is not a sculptor in the traditional sense of the word. Though his materials may be stone, iron, wood, bronze, marble and terra cotta, the resemblance ends there: “It is always a problem when you have to use a system of conventions to express exactly what that system is supposed to conceal.”
Using sculpture, Cemin has exhibited processes which lead to expressions. What counts are not the relationships between volumes and surfaces, but the relationships, differences and changes between images which art, but not art alone, has achieved for itself and: “(…) When Art gets arting it may get fine-arted. I fine-art my Art well before letting it go arting.” Cemin has sought and surveyed the equality in appreciation and judgment of all things: art, artifacts and thoughts. Saint Clair Cemin has often made duplicates of his sculptures. Traditionally it was common to reproduce sculptures. “To cast only one bronze seems to me as artificial as casting 50 would be vulgar”, Cemin has said.
For the exhibition at Witte de With, a selection was made of works that had been created during the three years before the exhibition. These works were different from the sculptures which Saint Clair Cemin had exhibited in the Netherlands for the first time in 1989, at the exhibition The Horn of Plenty in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The surprise of the “improper” became more compelling; the alienation itself was challenged, without spoiling the pleasure of watching. It has been like the cover of this catalogue where the four colors were intended by the artist to be: “…joy – without – strings – attached…”