The strange and provocative combination of shapes and concepts, such as animalistic furniture, sublime fountains, decorative figurines, scatological ashtrays and geometrical musical instruments make the work of Saint-Clair Cemin decidedly difficult. Despite the challenge posed by his themes and motifs and his reticent evasion of a concrete style, he is a creator who stands out as one of the most important and unique artists in his generation. Baroque Mirror is his first solo exhibition in a European museum and brings together works from a range of different periods and materials, as well as his latest, never-seen-before works. The metaphor of the mirror of the world, of a concave, Baroque mirror is the common thread woven through this exhibit, and the paradigm under which the artist has placed his creative process over these years. The artist has defined Art as a "form of perception and the world as a continuous flow;" hence, his work emphasizes combinations and mixtures. In Baroque Mirror there is nothing isolated, things do not have defined boundaries, and are composed of each other, forming strange combinations. His work has been described as occupying a conceptual area that allows him to appropriate different styles and techniques, strategies, and procedures from the history of sculpture, manipulating models and conventions through the use of humor, irony and provocation.
Baroque Mirror brings together works in which the artist focuses on the surreal process of disfeaturing things and rendering them enigmatic, combining, as in the case of Le verbe être (2007), the modern, geometric and industrial tradition with the Baroque tradition of folds and scrolls. The exhibition also includes his latest works, such as She (Red Car I) and He (Red Car II), two works created in 2011 in which the human figure is mixed with the aerodynamic and sensual shapes of cars, and Mystery Dog (Philosophy) (2012), a reflection on language, featuring the combination of a dog and a human bust reduced to its main features, fashioned in black Chinese lacquer and placed on two aluminum tables connected by a disproportionate pencil.
Saint-Clair Cemin was born in Cruz Alta (Brazil) in 1951 and moved to Sao Paulo in his youth to study Physics, but ultimately decided to enroll in the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1978 he moved to New York and began to work as an engraver. After seeing an exhibition by Joseph Beuys at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1979 he decided to devote himself - fundamentally - to sculpture. He is one of a generation of Brazilian artists which, forming part of a post-minimalist but still auratic context, breaks with the Concrete Movement and its heirs through a double shift: through a return to narrative in addition to a reflection on the most widely varied mediums and conventions of language. Cemin became part of the 1980s New York art scene and his work is included - along with that of artists like Ross Bleckner, Richard Prince, Peter Halley, Jonathan Lasker and Jeff Koons, founders of the GEO Group - in paradigmatic exhibitions focusing on what has been called American Postmodernism. For more than thirty years his work has been shown at galleries such as the Sikkema Jenkins and Co ., the Cheim and Read, the Paul Kasmin (New York), the Brito Cimino (Sao Paolo), the Bolsa de Arte (Porto Alegre) and the Daniel Templon (Paris), as well as venues such as the Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden in Washington (1991), the Monterrey Museum of Contemporary Art (1994), The Arts Club of Chicago (1999), the Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City (2002), and the Instituto Tomie Ohtake in São Paulo (2009).