Serge Clement, born in Mazières en Gâtine, France in 1933, graduated with honors from L'Ecole des Arts Appliqués in Paris. His first solo show was in Paris in 1960, and he has numerous solo exhibitions with Galerie Beaubourg in Paris, and other galleries in France, Italy, Belgium and United States. During the 60's and 70's, he worked for major publishers and advertising companies and won several times the City of Paris.
Marina Kamena raised and educated in Paris, was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1945. In addition to painting and sculpture, she created textiles drawings, record covers, magazine and newspapers illustrations and posters. She has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States.
In 1997, Serge Clement and Marina Kamena started a common work in writing “The Joy of Art” published by Abrams, NY (2001) and they recreated ten masterpieces for the film Rembrandt (1999) in which they painted actors in virtuoso reproductions of Rembrandt’s portraits which played a major role in their decision of working together on further projects.
These two experiences reinforced their first episode of common works: Studiolos, achieved between 1997 and 1999, followed by many more projects including the present. Jar Memory.
“Take a simple object - how about the generic trademark of the Mason Ball Jar. Patented by the Philadelphia tinsmith, James Landis Mason in 1858 as a practical way for canning fresh foods. With its wide mouth, winter beets and summer strawberries could be safely ‘preserved’ in its tight, vacuum seal. Now add two masterful illusionists -the tag-team of C&K - into the mix, stir up the post-modern visual contexts and voila!
Is it a double-entendre, sight gag or paradox of what needs to be lovingly kept from spoilage in our contaminated, toxic world?
Abracadabra - it's the history of art is transformed into a perfectly “preserved” set of iconic images flash frozen into their wildly creative original paintings and limited edition prints. If Andy Warhol could transform the banality of soup cans and detergent packages into “Pop” art, and Jeff Koons had the idea of making plastic beach toys of lobsters into titanium sculptures, then C&K have pushed the post-modernist irony to its ultimate extreme. Art History’s heavyweights are each playfully canned. Each jar is filled with the memories of Leonardo, Titian, El Greco, Ingres, Picasso, Matisse, de Kooning, Pollock, Kahlo, Warhol and Lichtenstein and more.
“We are attempting something more real, more intense than reality,” Marina explains. Quoting his Parisian comrades - Jean Baudrillard, Umberto Eco, and Marc le Bot - Serge speaks in thickly layered Gallic metaphors. But art of this nature - ponderous, deliriously experimental, marvelously creative - needs no pretentious analysis.”
Philip Eliasoph, PhD - Professor of Art History & Visual Culture, Fairfield University