new-york

Saint Clair Cemin

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

In his theory of creativity as bisociation, Arthur Koestler wrote: “When two independent matrices of perception or reasoning interact with each other the result . . . is either a collision ending in laughter, or their fusion in a new intellectual synthesis, or their confrontation in an aesthetic experience.” He adds that such “comic, tragic, or intellectually challenging effects” can occur simultaneously—and this is precisely what happens in Saint Clair Cemin’s droll sculptures.

The collision of a multicolored female figure and a white polyhedron in A Shard of Glass (all works 2004)—the figure horrified by what it sees, the object pristine and unmoved—is at once a laughable conflation, an aesthetic confrontation of opposites, and their synthesis in an intellectually puzzling relationship. It is the relationship between expressively alive spectator and dead or indifferent work of art; more

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