Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. Continuing to offer a glimpse into his widely discursive practice through meditations on the experiential qualities of the everyday, Rondinone draws upon a multiplicity of artistic tropes and approaches to create immersive and affectively charged environments. Skillfully traversing the boundaries between public and private, interior and exterior, truth and falsity, Rondinone reveals and displaces the processes of how cultural meaning is produced and distributed. Spanning a wide range of material production, from video to neon signage, this exhibition focuses on new figurative sculptures, which like the whole of Rondinone's work consistently testifies to the strangeness and beauty of human life.
Since the early 1990’s Rondinone has been developing a specific formal and conceptual language around figuration that includes an expansive group of sculptural and photographic self-portraits as well as his clown series. Established as a thematic extension of these earlier works, this exhibition continues to explore similar aesthetic strategies of engagement in which Rondinone generates often unsettling contexts that reflect upon existentialist expressions of the human condition. Made from a mixture of wax and earth pigments, these seven human-scale figures modestly line the walls of the gallery space, each positioned in a pose of hermetic contemplation that gives way to a site of serenity. While the exhibition title "nude" most commonly connotes bare or naked, it also implies a kind of primary, exposed and reductive state, which Rondinone mirrors by stripping the scene of narrative action, a decision that momentarily suspends the outside world and its referential character in an appeal to the conditions of our present state of consciousness. Accentuating the vast dimensions of the room and its abyss-like emptiness, Rondinone's interplay of sculpture and architecture elicits a sensorial encounter, highlighting both the passivity of the figures and the spatial void at the core of this scenario. By staging this setting for existential reflection, Rondinone plays with the co-constitutive forces of artifice and authenticity, unfixing the grounds upon which they operate and allowing the imminent ruminations upon Being to briefly and reflexively take hold among his poetic reshuffling of truth and meaning.
Born in 1964 in Brunnen, Switzerland, Rondinone’s work has most recently been the subject of solo exhibitions at Kunsthaus Aargauer, Switzerland and Museo de Arte Contemporéneo de Castilla y León, Spain. In 2007 he represented Switzerland in the 52nd Venice Biennial as well as curated “The Third Mind” at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. He currently lives and works in New York.
Rondinone’s five tree sculptures will concurrently be on view at the IBM Building at 590 Madison Avenue in New York.