About the exhibition

In the Ugo Rondinone exhibition at Gallery Krobath, we encounter two phenomena whose materiality is rather elusive: clouds and light. Images depicting blue color gradients are reminiscent of the artist‚Äôs ‚Äúclouds‚ÄĚ; the titles of the images (for example, ‚Äúeighthofoctobertwothousandtwentythree‚ÄĚ) indicate their date of origin. They surround neon yellow painted bronze sculptures (titled flashing light, dazzling light, brilliant light) in the center of the room. Both elements, clouds and light, belong to Ugo Rondinone‚Äôs ‚Äúvisual alphabet of archetypes‚ÄĚ that runs through the artist‚Äôs body of work and also includes mountains, moons, and suns: timeless phenomena that outlast all human life and point to eternity; though ubiquitous, they are frequently unattainable.

The sculptures are replicas of branches that are positioned upside down and suggest jagged movement. They are reminiscent of thunderbolts. While the tree with its slowly accumulated maturity stands for the passage of time, the thunderbolt is only visible for a split second‚ÄĒa moment that is flash-frozen into the sculptures. The heaviness and solidity of the bronze give it an air of permanence in the space. The neon yellow color counteracts the natural appearance of the trees‚ÄĒnot unlike the colors of the ‚Äúmountains‚ÄĚ from the 2021 exhibition at Gallery Krobath. It lifts, as it were, the branches from their surroundings and makes them appear as though virtually from another sphere.

In contrast to the momentary nature of a lightning bolt, nocturnal clouds in the images move along slowly in the sky, accompanied by the rise and descent of the moon.

In the manner of comic book art, the rounded top edges reduce the shape of the clouds to its simplest form. Given the fact that Ugo Rondinone often draws on the art of romanticism, the present works evoke Caspar David Friedrich‚Äôs oeuvre with its clouds that loom large‚ÄĒas elements of landscapes encapsulating and enveloping humans, inviting contemplation and also dissolving boundaries. The scope of this is intensified by the nocturnal atmosphere in Rondinone‚Äôs cloud images. As lightning suddenly strikes through the clouds, the glaring light counteracts the meditative color gradients of the images: it serves as a reminder of the transience of human life that can be disrupted at any moment.

Text: Nina Schedlmayer – English translation: Angelar Flury

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