Fans of mixed-media artist Ugo Rondinone who have been consistently following his practice from the '90s perfectly know that it can be difficult to pigeonhole the works produced by his studio. They span indeed from abstract paintings and videos to photography, sculpture and performance. At times they are terribly comic and ironic or drenched in bright colours, at others they are serious and a bit depressing, but what's for sure is that they are never the same thing twice.
The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam is currently working on an event for the next Spring (13th February - 29th May 2016) that will occupy part of the galleries of the institution.
"Ugo Rondinone - Vocabulary of Solitude" will include new and existing work in a wide range of colours: there will be mandalas and windows, abstract rainbow-like arches or brightly coloured concentric rings, plus forty-five life-like sculptures of clowns.
Born in Brunnen, Switzerland in 1964 from Italian parents, Rondinone studied at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunstin in Vienna, moving from 1998 on to New York where he is still based.
Rondinone collaborated earlier on in his career with Austrian performance artist Hermann Nitsch and came to international attention during the 1990s via installations that went from sculpture and painting to video, sound and photography. Rondinone's artworks could be considered in many ways as reactions to the violent art of Nitsch.
The artist represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and had major solo exhibitions at prominent institutions such as the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Louisana Museum of Modern Art, Kunsthalle Vienna, and Palais de Tokyo.
The artist is currently working on "Seven Magic Mountains", an installation of seven stone totems painted in bright shades constructed from car-size stone cut from a Nevada quarry and stacked 32 feet high. The public installation, along Interstate 15 that connects Los Angeles to Las Vegas, will launch in early 2016 and will remain on display for two years.
The exhibition for the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will undoubtedly be poetical, teetering on the brink of euphoria and depression. On the floor of the 1,500 square meters Bodonzaal gallery of the museum visitors will indeed be able to move between a wide range of pieces or stop and contemplate Rondinone's clowns caught in the act of dreaming, sleeping, waking up or running, all of them symbolising the unhappy man and incarnating solitude, but doing so in a loud way.
The Rondinone event at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is part of a series of controversial and experimental exhibitions of leading international contemporary artists that have featured throughout the years Fischli & Weiss (2003/2004), Urs Fischer (2006), Yayoi Kusama (2008), Pipilotti Rist (2009), Olafur Eliasson (2005, 2010), Carsten Höller (2010), Paul Noble (2014) and many more.
During the exhibition, the museum will organise various activities for all ages including a highly recommended "meet & greet" event with the artist and children's workshops. While this exhibition is part of the "Project Rotterdam" initiative set to celebrate the city, the opening of Rondinone's exhibition will coincide with Art Rotterdam Week (10 - 14 February 2016) and the exhibition will then be travelling to other museums.
Image credits for this post
All images courtesy of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
1. Ugo Rondinone, The Eighteenth Hour of the Poem, 2007. Wax and pigments, 140 x 82 x 82 cm. Artist's collection.
2. Ugo Rondinone, vierzehnterseptemberzweitausendundfünfzehn, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 520 x 270 cm. Artist's collection.
3. Ugo Rondinone, Gray White Pink Clock, 2013. Stained-glass window and wire, 50 cm diameter. Artist's collection.
4. Ugo Rondinone, Vocabulary of Solitude. Sleep, 2014. Clown costume, mask, live performance. Artist's collection.
5. Ugo Rondinone, Vocabulary of Solitude. Dream, 2014. Clown costume, mask, live performance. Artist's collection.
6. Ugo Rondinone, Vocabulary of Solitude. Remember, 2014. Clown costume, mask, live performance. Artist's collection.
7. Ugo Rondinone, The Vacant, 2014. Acrylic on wood with glass, 196 x 112 x 5 cm. Artist's collection.
8. Ugo Rondinone, Still. Life, 2013. Bronze, and lead paint, 12.5 x 14 x 12.5 cm. Artist's collection.
9. Ugo Rondinone, Still, 2006. Artificially aged leather clown shoes, wooden nail and paint, 100 x 60 x 25 cm. Artist's collection.
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