Born in 1964, New York-based Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone is one of the leading voices in the contemporary visual arts. Using photography, video, painting, drawing, sculpture, sound, and text in turn, he is a virtuoso of forms and techniques. Rondinone particularly enjoys destabilizing the viewers’ perceptions and unsettling their certainties by developing surprising sensorial environments. Rearranging content and formal elements through a personal poetic filter while drawing directly on the outside world, he envelops the audience in a synesthetic experience.
The artist has developed very precise and repetitive series—clown sculptures and videos, target acrylic paintings on linen, rubber masks, aluminum face sculptures, oversized wax lightbulbs, striped paintings on polyester, stone sculptures, landscape ink painting, bronze still-life objects, video and sound installations—through which he explores themes of fantasy and desire, branching out in literature and poetry, contemporary cinema, and the visual arts.
A new series of three publications extensively documents three of his most renowned series: the Landscape Paintings, the Horizon Paintings, and the Sun Paintings. In the second volume dedicated to the Horizon Paintings (1999–2011), artist and writer Phong Bui retraces the genealogy of stripe paintings from Barnett Newman to Rondinone, while art critic Bob Nickas thoroughly examines the making and meaning of painting in his work. He states: “While it is true that Rondinone has followed many paths over time, he has found ways for them to converge and align, to overlay abstraction and representation, reality and the unreal, artifice and the sublime. It has never been possible to predict where he will venture next with the products of his mind, and it remains so, as these stripe paintings metaphorically suggest: a sustained event-horizon or point of no return, where one can never apprehend the end of the line.”