Almine Rech gallery is thrilled to present its seventh exhibition with Ugo Rondinone, the inaugural exhibition at the gallery's new space in Paris.
Ugo Rondinone was born in 1964 in Brunnen, Switzerland, and lives and works in New York. His work has been exhibited globally, from the Consortium in Dijon, France in 1997, to the Kunsteverein in Stuttgart, Germany in 2002, to the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France in 2003. He represented Switzerland in the 52nd Venice Biennale and was also the curator of "The Third Mind” at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2007. More recently, he has had solo exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Aurgauer in Switzerland in 2010, and at the M.U.S.A.C in León, Spain in 2011. Upcoming exhibitions include The Public Art Fund at the Rockefeller Center in New York City, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the M Museum in Leuven, Belgium.
"I'm a man who cares about his nightlife," to quote Victor Hugo. In this exhibition, Ugo Rondinone represents different stages of the moon with hues varying from blueish to silvery glints of light. These wall paintings are optically challenging, concentrating the viewer’s gaze in order to focus consideration of their hazy outlines. These « pure moonlight » works are part of his mandala paintings, creating concentric rings of varying width and to bring about the unsettling visual effect . These mandalas represent a central role in Rondinone's date paintings series, a body of work started by the artist over twenty years ago. These pieces were presented as wall paintings for the first time in Zurich in 1996 and then at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 2002. Each piece bears a date and represents a day in the artist's life, an existential gesture but also a nod to abstract painting in its purest tradition. The artist has obscured the gallery's windows in order to impose a border between the exhibition space and the outside world.
This being an exhibition of contrasts, installed directly on the gallery floor are thirty lead-filled bronze candles at different stages of melting. They reinforce the idea of time being suspended and highlight the tension between natural and artificial lighting, between clear and indistinct borders, between these gigantic paintings and these small and simple objects of everyday life.
In his work, Ugo Rondinone often tends to combine the spectacular with the ordinary. Imposing pieces that trigger thought or abandonment are juxtaposed with small still lifes found on the floor - apples, a piece of bread, eggs - traces of fading memories.