Landscapes, suns, nudes, and still lifes—Ugo Rondinone‘s visual worlds transport the viewer into an unfamiliar reality. For his first solo exhibition in a museum in Austria, the multimedia conceptual and installation artist has devised a polyphonic, immersive cosmos.
Ugo Rondinone has been crossing boundaries between media and disciplines for more than 30 years. Works by the New York–based Swiss artist are often inspired by everyday issues and subjects that take on a poetic dimension through isolation, amplification, or specific material treatment. Ideas of Romanticism, the sublime, and transience resonate, as do the leitmotifs that define Rondinone’s work: figuration and abstraction, humans and nature, day and night, space and time. In highly artificial installations that cite art history and popular culture, the artist creates haunting moods that capture our modern-day attitude toward life.
nude in the landscape is Rondinone’s first solo show in an Austrian museum. With the genres “nude” and “landscape” cited in the title, the artist opens up a broad artistic and art historical space of signification that extends through different eras to our present day. As viewers step into a calm, almost meditative setting, a “landscape tableau” made up of several elements unfolds before them.
At the center of the exhibition is a monumental statement: two standing landscapes with sunrise and sunset (2021), the title of Rondinone’s oversized two-part work created specifically for this show. Standing over four meters tall, these “walls” are 16 and 18 meters wide respectively and weigh several tons; they can be read both as picturess and as sculptures. The two circular sections placed at different heights denote a sunrise and sunset. Juxtaposed against the landscapes are 14 life-size nudes (2010/11), wax casts of dancers, captured in a moment of contemplation and indifferent repose. Each figure consists of up to twenty segments, with earth pigments from different continents mixed into the material to produce a variety of color gradations. Also part of this atmospheric setting are the series poems (2003–2021), the work winter cloud (2019) and a series of clocks without hands: red clock(2016), blue clock (2016) and yellow clock (2016). A transparent gray foil work on the glass façade of the Belvedere 21, titled when the sun goes down and the moon comes up (2021), blurs the boundaries between day and night, interior and exterior, art and nature. The romantic longing to capture a particular fleeting moment, or rather to suspend time by artistic means, permeates the entire exhibition.
Curated by Axel Köhne
nude in the landscape
December 12, 2021–May 1, 2022
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm
T +43 1 795570
Image: View of Ugo Rondinone: nude in the landscape, Belvedere 21, Vienna, 2022. Photo: Stefan Altenburger, Courtesy studio rondinone
Ugo Rondinone. Akt in der Landschaft / nude in the landscape
Editors: Stella Rollig, Axel Köhne
Authors: Laura Hoptman, Axel Köhne, Stella Rollig
Graphics: Willi Schmid
Verlag Buchhandlung Walther & Franz König
Approx. 112 pages, 150 illustrations
Format: 31 × 24 cm
German & English in one volume
Price: 29.80 EUR
Available from February 2022
Press contact: Irene Jäger, firstname.lastname@example.org / T +43 1 79 557-185