Skip to content
Self portrait by Francesco Clemente for Summer 2021 issue of Citizen K Homme

Self portrait by Francesco Clemente for the Summer 2021 issue of Citizen K Homme

Superstar of painting, the Italian Francesco Clemente only refers to tantric spirituality. Despite its bubbling and colorful production, it is described in contemplation. It is these paradoxes that we try to get the mystical and somewhat mute painter to speak from his New York studio. A challenge.

Citizen K Homme: You said that you learned boredom in your youth in Naples. Do you feel that Bénarès (Varanasi), a city you love, is not so different from Naples in its density, and its connection to death? Seven hundred thousand Neapolitans live in a red zone because of Mt Vesuvius. It would take today 6 days to evacuate them. They would need the protection of San Gennaro still. 

Francesco Clemente: I collaborated with Allen Ginsberg on illuminated manuscripts, inspired by William Blake. Ginsberg saw a parallel between Benares and Venice. The gondolas, colorful earlier on, were painted black during the plague, as they were used to carry the dead. The river in Benares is the gate to the other world. Naples is also on the water, but it turns its back to the sea and looks at the volcano for meaning