Elena Climent

Elena Climent was born in Mexico City in 1955, the daughter of the Spanish artist Enrique Climent, who came to Mexico as an exile from the Spanish Civil War. Growing up, her parents’ social circle was composed of expatriate Spanish artists, musicians, and writers. Climent took art classes in Mexico City, Valencia and Barcelona, but is fundamentally self-taught. At the age of 16 Climent decided to become a painter but she declined to attend art school, in part because her father did not approve of formal education.

In 1972 she had her first exhibition in Mexico City, and in 1988 she had a solo show at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Climent’s early works were mostly watercolors from her own imagination. However, in 1986 she began creating oil paintings based on her photographs of windows, doors, and balconies in Mexico City. In 1988 Climent moved to New York City and continued to use her old snapshots to create paintings which explored the urban landscape of Mexico City, as well as the distinctions between interior and exterior spaces. Through depicting everyday objects and scenes, Climent manages to give the viewer a glimpse into the lives of many Mexicans. As Professor Edward Sullivan states, “in Elena Climent’s work there is a rare honesty and openness infrequently encountered in art today.”

Climent’s first solo exhibition in the United States, titled In Search of the Present, was held at Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art in 1992. She continued to exhibit at MAMFA and the Galería GAM (formerly the Galería de Arte Mexicano) in Mexico City. Climent’s works, primarily oils, watercolors, and drawings, are well known throughout Mexico, Latin America, the United States, and Europe.  Climent currently lives and works in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Elena Climent: Childhood

If we really look we can see that the objects that surround us are not only what they first appear to be. A corner shelf is not only a piece of furniture meant to hold books or pots; if we get close enough we will see that the space between the last book and the wall is a hall and an entrance to a secret place, perhaps a garden that no one else knows about. The wrinkles of a blanket can be a mountain landscape, the bathtub can be an ocean, a pot with plants a forest.

A photograph or a drawing can be the door, and if you look hard enough you will discover that there is light emanating from it. This is the light from your childhood, which you never lost. If you can become little and enter a dollhouse and explore it with excitement, then you still have your childhood, and you must never let go of it. And if you are not sure perhaps you can find it in the labyrinths of your memory.

—Elena Climent