Ugo Rondinone

Biography of Ugo Rondinone

Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone is a true original, who operates with what he calls “childlike motives” so that everyone can “get something out of” his artwork. His practice includes monumental sculptures, installations and beautiful, hand-made objects. Born in Brunnen in Switzerland in 1964, Rondinone studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Sometimes Ugo Rondinone’s work can come across as ludicrously joyous, as seen with his rainbow-hued neon-lit sign pieces that turn cultural banalities into elements of psychic profundity. Though they appear joyful they are in fact teetering on the brink of being nauseating and even depressing.

Combining hand-held and machine-made elements, Ugo Rondinone explores how man interacts with the world around him. Often working on a grand scale, the enormous works often lie beyond comprehension, as though they were pre-historic objects or childlike fantasies as seen through the distant eyes of an adult. His installations utterly immerse the viewer, implying that all is not quite as it first might seem.

In 2016 his artwork Seven Magic Mountains, (five years in the making), comprised of seven towering sculptures situated not far from Las Vegas. Lying somewhere between geological formations and abstract compositions, each tower is about 10 meters high. Creating a kind of romantic minimalism, the huge limestones boulders conform with Rondinone’s interest in natural and primordial phenomena.

Ugo Rondinone has been the subject of major solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle in Vienna in 2002, the Museo de Art Contemporaneo in Spain in 2011, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and the Sculpture Center in New York. His exhibition “Hell Yes” was on at the New Museum from the 2007 through to 2010 and his work is currently held in their permanent collection. In 2007 he had the honor of represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale.

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