Ugo Rondinone (Swiss, b. 1963)
Born in Brunnen, Switzerland, Ugo Rondinone currently lives and works in Zurich and New York City. Rondinone’s work explores notions of emotional and psychic profundity found in the most banal elements of everyday life. He came into prominence in Europe in the early 1990s with installations that explored the contrasts between natural and artificial environments, and combined live actors, sound, painting, photography, and video. Rondinone’s U.S. solo debut at the Matthew Marks Gallery, in 2000, attracted favorable reviews and contributed to Rondinone’s growing reputation. Most recently, Rondinone has turned to translating his psychological states into environments that are intended to provoke a corresponding mood in the viewer.
Ranging from installations to psychedelic paintings to large-scale drawings, Ugo Rondinone’s eclectic work balances on the razor’s edge between euphoria and depression. His signature incandescent colors and Pop references, as in his rainbow-hued and neon-lit sign pieces, turn cultural clichés (“Hell, Yes!”) into material for a contemporary Arte Povera, recycling old catchphrases, repurposed cement, or cast-off clothes. Similarly, his sculptures often transform everyday objects by casting them in bronze, giving them an artificial permanence that both underscores and denies their perishability.
He has participated in group exhibitions including the 54th Carnegie International, the Lyon Biennial, and “Drawing Now: Eight Propositions” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Rondinone also represented Switzerland in the Venice Biennial in 2007 and is featured in the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden in Des Moines, Iowa.