In 1988, Ugo Rondinone’s boyfriend succumbed to AIDS. Rondinone was in his mid-twenties and residing within the Austrian capital on the time, learning alongside his companion, Manfred Weisner.
“He was a biology pupil on the College of Vienna,” Rondinone tells the American curator, Laura Hoptman, in his Phaidon Modern Artist Sequence monograph. “He died 4 months from the day that he confirmed me his first Kaposi’s sarcoma on the again of his knee.”
This terrifyingly fast ending was all of the extra distressing for Rondinone, as a result of the artist was not sure whether or not he would possibly get unwell too. “At the moment, I didn’t need to know my very own HIV standing, however I used to be sure that I used to be contaminated as nicely,” he goes on to say.
Weisner’s destiny may need been an unmitigated tragedy, have been it not for the Swiss-born artist’s response to this loss. Moderately than let his grief calcify into hate or distress, Rondinone let this loss change the best way he considered the world.
“Manfred’s loss of life was a turning level in my life, once I determined to take advantage of what time remained for me,” he says. “In the midst of the AIDS disaster on the finish of 1988, I turned away from grief and located a non secular roadmap for solace, regeneration and inspiration in nature. In nature, you enter an area the place the sacred and profane, the magical and the mundane, vibrate in opposition to each other. This new base present in nature would inform my work for the subsequent thirty-three years.”
UGO RONDINONE – Seven Magic Mountains, 2016
It isn’t arduous to see traces of this outlook in nearly each well-known art work by Rondinone. Think about the Seven Magic Mountains, the colorful stone stacks the artist put in within the Nevada desert in 2016, which seem like a Memphis Group tackle neolithic paganism; or his Night time Rainbows, the general public, text-and-rainbow sculptures which he has been putting in internationally since 1997, which each reference the Satisfaction flag – “we have been nonetheless impacted by the AIDS disaster at the moment, and I felt it was necessary to make a homosexual optimistic public assertion” he says in his new e book – but additionally an everlasting, pure phenomenon.
UGO RONDINONE – Cry Me a River, 2016
But this mystical, pure aspect may be present in much less apparent collection too. In 1995, shortly earlier than he started his rainbows, Rondinone made his photographic works, I Don’t Reside Right here Anymore. In these, the artist took images from trend magazines, and imposed his options onto the feminine mannequin within the shot.
This raises apparent questions of gender identification, however it additionally permits the artist to mess around with a pure phenomenon – intercourse and gender – in a brand new area. Is he changing into a girl in these pictures? Is he cross-dressing or trans? Is he even current in these works; because the title suggests, Rondinone doesn’t stay there anymore. Maybe a wider interpretation is required – one going again to that earlier, tragic revelation.
UGO RONDINONE – I Don’t Reside Right here Anymore (1995/2022)
“My curiosity lies within the human situation and its place on this planet,” says the artist in his new e book. “I see the world as a mysterious place the place appearances are misleading and supreme actuality isn’t perceived. A world the place every particular person creates its personal time and area. It’s a paradox. On one aspect we expertise time and area as dependable and predictable entities, the place time and area current us with a misleading type of actuality. However the internal lifetime of time and area is labyrinthine and dangerous.”
For a collectable glimpse into this viewpoint, contemplate this Rondinone version. The work is a part of the brand new Collectors’ Version of Rondinone’s Modern Artist Sequence e book from Phaidon. Printed on Fuji Crystal Archive paper, it measures 12 x 9 inches (30.5 x 22.9 cm), and is proscribed to simply 30 prints (in addition to 6 APs and 1 PP), every signed and numbered by the artist on a label on the reverse.
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