Being Hybrid 09/03 >> 13/04/24

Being Hybrid

09/03 >> 13/04/24
09/03 >> 13/04/24
Saint Clair Cemin
Being Hybrid

Sculptor Saint Clair Cemin (b. 1951, Cruz Alta, Brazil) opens the solo show Being Hybrid at Millan, his first exhibition in Brazil in almost ten years. The event includes a talk between the artist and New York critic Paul Laster and also marks the reopening of the gallery's building, which has undergone major renovations, beginning last November.

Cemin, who lives between Connecticut, in the United States, and Hydra, in Greece, has created six bronze sculptures especially for the show. Each piece condenses various movements, shapes, and references into a singular entity. For instance, Panguri unites the shapes of a horse, a boy, and an airplane, creating, in the artist's words, a "chimera".

Another sculpture, which has also been given the orange patina coating of the works in the exhibition, evokes Capoeira and is comprised of two separate pieces that appear to be moving in rhythm with one another. A comparable effect happens with Infante, which "in principle should turn or tumble when we walk around it, depending on the point of view," Cemin explains.

He grew up in Cruz Alta, a town nearly 300 km away from Porto Alegre, the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in South Brazil, where he would enjoy the landscape populated by horses or visit the local aero club to watch the small propeller-driven planes take off. He left the city to study fine arts at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After graduating in 1978, he moved to the US, where he became part of New York's vibrant art scene, connecting with the likes of Jeff Koons and Richard Serra.

Although his career spans 60 years, Cemin admits he was surprised by the ensemble he is showing at Millan: "The pieces in this exhibition were an enigma to me. They were meaningful, but I didn't know why or what bound them together into a coherent group. It was weeks or months before I realized, in a dazzling epiphany, what they were. All of them were intimately connected to my childhood years; it was as if the feelings and emotions of my childhood had crystallized in those forms. A poem about childhood."

In addition to his childhood memories, the sculptures also embody aspects of modern art and ancient Greek statuary, both of which are frequent in his work, which also includes references to philosophy, mythology, and literature.

Being Hybrid showcases the work of an artist who, while remaining true to his identity, is constantly reinventing his work, refusing to subscribe to any fixed definitions of his craft or art in general. "Anything you say about sculpture in general or installation in general could be contradicted, either now or in the future, by a particular artist. Art, in my opinion, reaches the universal through the particular, through what is unique and personal," he concludes.