A family of nudes by Ugo Rondinone – A RAINBOW.A NUDE.BRIGHT LIGHT.SUMMER

A naked woman is sitting on the floor. Her eyes are closed. Her head is bowed. As is her upper body, stabilised by her left arm, while her right arm, slightly further back, rests on her foot. The sculpture is human in appearance and visibly moulded from a model full of bodily vigour – and for good reason: this is a dancer.

Yet this sculpture makes no attempt at concealing an artificiality – reinforced by the application of colour on the body – springing from the production process, as attested by the treatment of certain joints and the intentional visibility of strings which, like those of a puppet, exclude any pretensions to hyper-realism.

The woman is situated in a polychrome space open to the street, allowing her surroundings to be flooded with summer light. She blends into her setting, where the more "natural" matrix sculptures had made play with contrast.

The work derives from a family of nudes Rondinone created in 2010–2011, using a mix of wax and earth colours. In this group dating back 10 years or so, as in the sculpture on display here, we can detect speculation about tempus fugit that is only exacerbated by the disparity between the vitality of the mature bodies and the fragility of the wax. A beautiful, all but untranslatable German word reflects this separation and transience: Vergänglichkeit.

Equally significant is the polychrome character of this sculpture, echoed in the gallery's walls, ceiling and floor (it should be remembered that for Ugo Rondinone, the exhibition and its presentation approach constitute a "form" in their own right and are in no way reducible to a mere "neutral" envelope).

Coming in the wake of a number of polychrome sculptures produced in recent years, this is a perfect example of the transmutation characteristic of the Rondinone method: from family to family, processes of hybridisation, transfer and mutation intermingle and enrich his work with additional intertextual layers. A constantly renewed work in progress of which this nude is a new chapter.— (Erik Verhagen)

Ugo Rondinone - A RAINBOW.A NUDE.BRIGHT LIGHT.SUMMER

Ugo Rondinone (born 1964) is a New York-based, Swiss-born mixed media artist known for a series of contemporary paintings and sculptures. Rondinone is widely known for his temporary, large-scale land art sculpture Seven Magic Mountains (2016-2021), with its seven fluorescent-painted totems made of large, car-sized stones stacked 9.8 metres high. Ugo Rondinone was born in 1964 to Italian parents in the Swiss resort town of Brunnen. He moved to Zurich in 1983 to become Hermann Nitsch's assistant and studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna from 1986 to 1990. He has lived and worked in New York City since 1998.

Ugo Rondinone - A RAINBOW.A NUDE.BRIGHT LIGHT.SUMMER

Ugo Rondinone was born in 1964 in Brunnen, Switzerland and lives and works in New York. Rondinone has been the subject of recent institutional exhibitions at: SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norway in 2021; Medellín Museum of Modern Art, Colombia; Kunsthalle Helsinki, Finland; and Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York in 2019; Fundación Casa Wabi, Puerto Escondido, Mexico; Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Denmark; and Tate Liverpool, UK in 2018; Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, California; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow in 2017; and Carré d’Art, Nîmes, France; Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, NL; and The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, US in 2016. 

Ugo Rondinone - A RAINBOW.A NUDE.BRIGHT LIGHT.SUMMER

In 2013, Rondinone installed “human nature”, an exhibition of nine monumental stone figures in Rockefeller Plaza, New York, organized by Public Art Fund.

In 2016, Rondinone’s large-scale public work seven magic mountains opened outside Las Vegas, co-produced by the Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art.

In 2017, Rondinone curated a city-wide exhibition, “Ugo Rondinone: I ♥ John Giorno,” which was presented in twelve New York non-profit institutions: Artists Space, High Line Art, Howl! Happening, Hunter College Art Galleries, the Kitchen, New Museum, Red Bull Arts New York, Rubin Museum of Art, SkyArt, Swiss Institute, White Columns and 80WSE Gallery.

Recent and forthcoming exhibitions include: Sant’Andrea de Scaphis, Rome; Belvedere 21, Vienna; Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; and the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Rondinone has been the subject of recent institutional exhibitions at: SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norway in 2021; Medellín Museum of Modern Art, Colombia; Kunsthalle Helsinki, Finland; and Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York in 2019; Fundación Casa Wabi, Puerto Escondido, Mexico; Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Denmark; and Tate Liverpool, UK in 2018; Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, California; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow in 2017; and Carré d’Art, Nîmes, France; Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, NL; and The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, US in 2016.

Ugo Rondinone - A RAINBOW.A NUDE.BRIGHT LIGHT.SUMMER

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