Saint Clair Cemin and Jessica Stockholder

The exhibitions of Saint Clair Cemin and Jessica Stockholder confronted and compared two contemporary sculptural visions, that respond differently to our pluralistic culture and consumer society.

Brazilian artist Saint Clair Cemin (1951) uses traditional materials such as stone, iron, wood, bronze, marble and terra-cotta. He investigates the relationships, differences and changes between images not just in art, but in our entire consumer culture. He seeks equality in the appreciation and judgment of all things: art, artifacts and thoughts. As Cemin remarked in his typically aphoristic fashion: “The world of art-objects, and that of common objects, form a continuous field. The value system used to produce and evaluate art-objects, even the most rarefied conceptual work, shares a common ground with the apparatus used to evaluate anything else in the world, such as people, social situations, or the weather.” Inspired by the heterogeneity of this object-world, Cemin’s sculptures are eclectic, fragments of thought which hint of a totality, that has been deliberately left undisclosed.

The exhibition of Saint Clair Cemin presented a selection of works made between 1988 and 1991.
Canadian artist Jessica Stockholder (1959) creates striking assemblages from such materials and objects as wood, sheetrock, concrete, asphalt, carpet, plaster, wallpaper, paint, papier-mâché, tape, electric wire, lights, refrigerators, chairs, sheets, underwear, fruit, toilet paper and garbage bags. Stockholder’s decision to work with debris, waste products and transient substances confronts us, conceptually as well as formally, with the temporality of her installations and, by extension, of our own bodies, and our social and cultural structures which are bound to the consumer society that produces these materials.

This temporality is enhanced by the architectural dimension of Stockholder’s installations; most of her works are in-situ installations that address the architecture of the space they occupy. Her refractory material aggregates allow a multiplicity of possible perspectives, suggesting different ways of seeing. When moving through one of her installations, the viewer perceives the parts as shifting and restructuring constantly and only experiences a unified work after viewing many perspectives. Unity within the continual flux exists only in the memory of each individual viewer.
The exhibition of Jessica Stockholder included a selection of works made between 1988 and 1991, as well as two in-situ installations, made especially for Witte de With, that adapted to the relations of things happening inside and outside the exhibition spaces.

The exhibition of Jessica Stockholder traveled to The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.


  • Saint Clair Cemin, Jessica Stockholder