A major exhibition in Venice on Antoni Clavé and his cherished theme of the warrior

Palazzo Franchetti in Venice is hosting a major exhibition dedicated to Antoni Clavé from April 22 to October 23, 2022. In particular, one of the most cherished and recurring themes in his production is addressed: the warrior.

From April 22 to Oct. 23, 2022, Antoni Clavé (Barcelona, 1913 - Saint-Tropez, 2005), among the artists who best interpreted the transition from figuration to abstraction, will be the protagonist of a major exhibition at the Venetian exhibition venue of Palazzo Franchetti. The exhibition, entitled The Spirit of the Warrior, will be held in conjunction with the 59th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale and will be curated by Aude Hendgen, art historian and head of the Antoni Clavé Archives, and Sitor Senghor, independent curator.

Around fifty works including paintings and sculptures, some of them large in size, will be on display that aim to explore one of the artist’s most cherished themes: warriors. Through this theme, the exhibition offers an opportunity to investigate the Spanish artist’s research through the evolution of his style. In fact, that of the warrior is a recurring theme in his research and appears as early as 1958 in his paintings to later populate the world of sculpture as well. This is followed by the successful Kings series that dominated Clavé’s artistic imagination in the 1950s and thus continues the choice of ancient figures, of the last heirs of a vanished civilization who are transformed into powerful archetypes of Spanish heritage. The paintings range from 1958 through the 1990s and will include some key works previously exhibited in the 1984 Venice Biennale. The sculptures, which also include the famous closets, reveal Clavé’s love of the most heterogeneous materials, including wood, metal, cardboard, and waste.

The theme also ties in with the artist’s biography: he knows the experience of war in 1937, then defeat by the Republican Army, exile, and imprisonment. The theme of the warrior is present in his art from the beginning, in his drawings made in prison camps. It is the exhibition organized by the Creuzevault Gallery in 1958 that marks a real turning point in his artistic career and public recognition. His subject is clear: Kings and Warriors, transformed, transmuted also thanks to theassemblage technique. This theme of the combatant occupies a privileged role, particularly in relation to the statuary and African masks he surrounds himself with in his Paris studio: his first bronze sculptures made in 1960 represent warriors. They are also present in his cabinets, and on a monumental scale, are always the subjects, with kings, in his"tapisseries-assemblage."

Recognizing an influence of the iconographic imagery of statuary and African masks, the exhibition will then be hosted from March 23 to May 27, 2023 at the Donwahi Foundation in Abidjan.

For info: www.acp-palazzofranchetti.com

Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.

Image: Antoni Clavé, Eadward, detail (1968; tapestry-assemblage, 246 x 174 cm; Private collection) © François Fernandez

A major exhibition in Venice on Antoni Clavé and his cherished theme of the warrior
A major exhibition in Venice on Antoni Clavé and his cherished theme of the warrior

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