From antiquity to the present day, tents have provided shelter, comfort and space to dream, pray or imagine. Francesco Clemente, whose drawings, paintings and conceptual works integrate Western and Eastern themes, exhibited three tents at the Blain|Southern gallery in Berlin, Germany, this fall that incorporated all of his artistic skills to wrap viewers in colorful images formed from paint, print, thread and fabric. Each canvas tent is decorated in intricate detail—exteriors, interiors, walls, roofs and support elements—with references from many cultural and historical traditions. According to Blain|Southern, “these paintings function by enveloping and surrounding the viewer to evoke an experience of painting that is both seen and physically felt.”
The three tents covered with tempera and mixed media, which Clemente calls his “cave paintings,” include Standing with Truth, depicting human action and primal animal instincts, symbolized by a winged beast with human features presiding over the tent entrance. Museum Tent’s interior consists of a series of self-portraits in ornate frames, with elements of the painting (a tiger skin, a fishing rod) emerging outside of the frames. Insects printed in patterns on the walls suggest Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The tent exterior displays the faÃ§ades of well-known museums.
The most fabric-intensive tent, Taking Refuge, has a darkened interior filled with interlocking Buddhas and an exterior made of colorful appliquÃ©s with gold embroidered words from an Indian vow of refuge. To see more photos of these movable temples, visit the Blain|Southern website.