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Francesco Clemente, Museum Tent (detail), 2012–13, tempera on cotton and mixed media, 19' 8“ x 13' 1” x 9' 10".

Francesco Clemente

Blain|Southern | Berlin

Francesco Clemente, Museum Tent (detail), 2012–13, tempera on cotton and mixed media, 19' 8“ x 13' 1” x 9' 10".

It’s been nearly three decades since Francesco Clemente’s last big show in Berlin, at the Neue Nationalgalerie in 1984. And yet the three large “Tents” (all works 2012–13) featured in his recent exhibition of the same name make it clear that, far from running out of steam, this hard-to-classify artist is still pushing the limits of his art. Despite his new works’ scale—each measures about twenty by thirteen by ten feet—their effect is as light as a sorcerer’s touch: With them, Clemente turns the notion of artistic visibility by grace of institutional programming on its head. These “Tents” also give a new twist to what canvas can be: not only a ground for painting but also a portable space for presenting it.

Never literal, Clemente’s art summons a number of commingled ideas, questioning the processes of seeing, naming, and comprehending. For some viewers, the spectacular

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