Lie to Me

“Illusion is a means of testifying to life, of restoring what the artists have seen, and finally making something that intensely captures reality,” says artist Marina Kamena.

She and her husband, Serge Clement, have been making collaborative art for more than twenty years. They started with ten masterpieces that they re-created for the French film Rembrandt (1999), and their experience and reputation only grew from there. For example, they are represented by, and exhibited at, the Allan Stone Gallery in NYC and co-authored the book “The Joy of Art” (Abrams 2001).

Find them in Greenwich in a new spring exhibit: Clement Kamena: ILLUSIONS. The show opens on April 19 at the Gilles Clement Gallery and will feature a diverse range of paintings, sculptural works and mixed-media constructions on the theme of illusion and perspective. “The results are offbeat, clever works of enormous craftsmanship that outguess the viewer,” notes Gallery Director Dianne Niklaus.

The theme is particularly timely. “In our so-called ‘post-truth’ society, populated with alternative facts and fake news, we’ve become increasingly aware of the illusions posed by the media, celebrities and the government,” she notes. “Still, truth be told, most of us don’t tolerate being lied to. We don’t like being tricked or deceived…well, maybe sometimes; as when a magician crafts an illusion to avert our attention from reality, we are willingly awed and entertained. Anticipate that kind of uplifting thrill and playfulness when viewing the exhibit.”

In their Jar Memory series, iconic pieces are “conserved” in Mason jars. “Michelangelo’s Sybil and Jeff Koons’ Diamond are scaled and visually ‘packed’ for posterity; an illusionist act of conservation that merges the museum case and the grocery shelf,” says Niklaus. “The most recent works in the series employ neon light in lieu of paint, a play on the variable perception of the color white, and the ‘disappearing act’ that light plays when switched off.”

In Clement Kamena’s mixed-media “Constructions,” wires, nails, computer keys and a myriad of other small objects create the illusion of cities and waterfronts. Streaks of car lights and other night-time illumination are carefully created with metallic paint.

Let those car lights serve as a reminder to zip down to the exhibit’s opening reception Thursday, April 19, 6-8 p.m. There will be another opportunity to view the show and rendezvous with the artists on Wednesday, April 25, 6-8 p.m., in partnership with Alliance Francaise to pre-open the Focus on French Cinema Festival.

Clement Kamena: ILLUSIONS, runs through May 26, 2018; Gilles Clement Gallery, 45 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT;

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