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Paper 54 x 90.5 in. / 137 x 230 cm
Image 40.75 x 66.25 in. / 103.2 x 168.6 cm
Etching, aquatint, dry point and soft ground in colors, with collage in silver, on Fabriano Rosaspina paper. Edition 55 with 15 artist’s proofs: this impression 28/55. Signed and numbered by the artist, and stamped 2RC. Based on Clemente’s 1983-84 tempera painting of the same name. Published by 2RC Edizioni d’Arte – Rome.
One of Francesco Clemente’s most ambitious, graphic, and reproduced works, Semen features a simple foreshortened dark brown outline of the naked artist, on an expanse of pinkish-red. A white line attached to an arrowhead defines the side of his head. Soft expanses of yellow and rose fill in the lines of his body, and his lips are tinted red. The composition is bounded by a striking cobalt blue frame.
Clemente’s painterly, soft mark-making infuses even his most esoteric and erotic subjects with warmth and meaning. The artist has said “Fluidity is the source of the work. Fluidity is the goal of the work.” Here this fluidity is literal; he floats towards the viewer as if suspended in a post-coital haze, or perhaps in amniotic fluid. Clemente positions his own body as both creator and created, a duality that the artist frequently employs: symbols of mortality and eternity, femininity and masculinity, fertility and death, positioned side by side.