From now until october 21, 2015, Ugo Rondinone presents three new bodies of work at Sadie Coles HQ, comprising painting and sculpture that embody the Swiss artist’s continued interest in natural phenomena and its physical, aesthetic translation. The exhibition, ‘Clouds + Mountains + Waterfalls’, infills the gallery with colorful towers of mountain-like matter, sky-shaped canvasses and spiraling metallic streams, each of which simultaneously conjure both nature and artifice.
Rondinone’s new mountain sculptures comprise stacks of rocks vertically assembled on concrete plinths. The heaps, ranging between two and six slabs, reference hoodoos (naturally-occurring spires commonly found in dry, desert areas) and the meditative art of rock balancing. Each stone is painted a different fluorescent hue, with the sculptures’ titles minimally delineated by their component colors. The works appear to seemingly defy gravity in their teetering formations, but are simultaneously embedded down into their concrete plinths. Many of the sculptures lean towards an anthropomorphic quality, suggesting figures in crouching poses or gesturing attitudes, while others resist any personified characteristics.
Large canvases painted in fine gradations of sky blue comprise the artists’ series of cloud paintings. Rectangular surfaces morph into cloud-like cartoon borders at their upper perimeters, forming ‘an entity of time and space‘ that is simultaneously immeasurable and contained. Ethereally painted using a sponge and dilute pigment, the cloud works act as sites of imagination and possibility in the same way that actual clouds themselves conjure phantasmal images and associations.
Waterfall sculptures form the third new series. The collection comprises thin, freestanding lines modeled by hand in clay and cast in aluminum, whose spiraling forms evoke jets of water. Delicately balanced on the floor, the sculptures seem to simultaneously cascade downwards and unfurl upwards like an indian rope trick. Rondinone’s paintings and sculptures have frequently referenced to phenomena like air, moons, the sun, the cosmos in both their titles or forms. ‘clouds + mountains + waterfalls’ encapsulate a ‘mental trinity’ that has underpinned his art for more than twenty years.