Saint Clair Cemin

Saint Clair Cemin

Amor jovem, 2023 (detail) | Photo: Ana Pigosso

1951, Cruz Alta, Brazil
Lives and works between Woodbury, CT, USA, and Hydra, Greece


Saint Clair Cemin began his career in the arts while still a teenager, as a sketch artist and illustrator. When he was 22, he studied engraving at the École des Beaux-Arts and worked as a magazine illustrator in Paris.  In 1978, he moved to New York, where he connected to the local art scene, which allowed for key encounters that helped shape him as an artist.  From then on, he abandoned printmaking and began pursuing a broader artistic production. After a period of experimentation, the artist discovered his vocation in sculpture, and since the 1990s, has gained recognition in the artistic circle as a sculptor.

Cemin creates sculptures using various materials, such as bronze, steel, glass, and marble, in artworks that vary from small to large dimensions. Combining references from ancient Greek statuary, Art Nouveau, and Surrealism with forms incorporated from everyday objects, many of his works challenge notions of use and function. Likewise, he also explores the intersections of his myriad of references — which, in addition to art history, encompass philosophy, mythology, and literature. His works range from smooth and static surfaces to baroque or naturalistic renderings, dwelling on the dichotomies of movement and stillness, brightness and opacity, roughness and softness.

His first solo show took place in 1985 at the Daniel Newburg Gallery in New York. Since then, he has held exhibitions in institutions such as Fundação Brasilea, Basel, Switzerland (2016), Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain (2012); Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, Brazil (2009); Museo de Arte Moderno, CDMX, Mexico (2002); Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC, USA (2001); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico (1994).

Cemin was the honored artist at the 4th Bienal do Mercosul in Porto Alegre (2003) in addition to being featured in group exhibitions such as Glasstress, Fondazione Berengo Art Space, Murano, Italy (2019); Troposphere, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing, China (2018); Surrealism: The Conjured Life, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA (2016); 10th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2015); 22nd Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (1994) and the IX Documenta, Kassel, Germany (1992).

His works are featured in collections such as Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain; FNAC – Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France; Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey, USA; Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone, Japan; Instituto Inhotim, Brumadinho, Brazil; Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris, France; MARCO – Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico; MARGS – Museu de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA; MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA; SMAK – Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Antwerp, Belgium; NOMA – New Orleans Museum of Art, USA; Usina de Arte, Águas Pretas, Brazil; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA.

Artist’s website