Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present “soul,” an exhibition of new sculptures by Ugo Rondinone. Rondinone has long embraced a fluidity of forms and media. Taken as a whole, his work represents a complex network of responses to social and physical structures. By allowing himself the freedom to work within a wide variety of disciplines and media, Rondinone creates the conditions necessary to explore a broad emotional range. His work has become widely recognized for its ability to channel both psychological expressiveness and profound insight into the human condition.
For the series of sculptures included in “soul,” bluestone – the material out of which the works are made – has been rough-cut into blocks, which are stacked atop one another to form the human figure. The methods by which the stone has been worked are apparent to the viewer, and have not been obscured by subsequent handling. Visible traces, including drill-holes and split structures, evidence the work done at the quarry, where the blocks were removed from the ground. The work evinces the true nature of the stone: heavy and coarse material, marked by wind, weather, and corrosion. The simple presence and natural surface of the sculpture contrasts with the artificial surface of the poured concrete pedestals. The exhibition itself functions as a sort of hall-of-mirrors turned inwards. The stone figure is repeated and reflected in several scales, and installed in an immersive raw concrete environment.
The exhibition is complemented by “Human Nature,” a large-scale installation presented by the Public Art Fund. Nine 16 to 20-foot tall stone sculptures are on view now through June 7 in the plaza at Rockefeller Center.
Born in 1964 in Brunnen, Switzerland, Rondinone has recently been the subject of solo exhibitions at: the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece; Kunst Historisches Museum Wien, Wien, Vienna; Museum Dhondt Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium; and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, France. This year, Rondinone will have solo exhibitions at Museum Leuven, Brussels, Belgium, and at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2007, Rondinone represented Switzerland at the 52nd Venice Biennial and curated “The Third Mind” at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. He currently lives and works in New York.