Ugo Rondinone - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Wednesday, July 8, 2020 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Esther Schipper, Berlin
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “By pairing foreign bodies, Rondinone sets in motion a game of quotes, appropriations, and references that stresses the theatricality of his vision.”
    (Steven Ostrow quoted in "Editor’s Choice", BOMB #103, Spring 2008)

    Stone Henge
    Salisbury, England
    circa 3000 B.C.
    Ugo Rondinone is a Swiss-born, New York-based artist whose oeuvre spans a range of mediums and practices, in his investigation of the experimental qualities of the quotidian, whilst reflecting on the space between reality and fantasy. Blue yellow pink mountain, executed in 2017, is an amalgamation of brightly painted rocks, precariously placed on top of one another which springs effortlessly from its pedestal - exuding a sense of dynamic verticality while evoking images of primordial stone formations like Stonehenge. Gracefully suspended in weight and time, they are securely locked into place by a system of steel rods, which allows the piece to incorporate a delicate blend of natural and industrial materials. Rondinone heightens the raw, jagged edges of the stone with the seductive beauty of each powerful, incandescent colour. And despite each colour being distinctly synthetic, its forms are entirely natural, the work having been being inspired by hoodoos - tall thin spires that protrude from arid grounds. It is a synthesis that the artist claimed to be a continuum “between human and nature, artificial and natural, then and now” (Rondinone, words for Seven Blue Mountains installation press release).

    The dazzling array of colours is a fabulous example of the conceptual maturation of Rondinone’s early rainbow motif. While this sculpture shares in the Day-Glo rainbow works’ presence as a strong LGBT icon, it is one that not only reflects his own sexuality but holds resonance with his adopted home of New York, and his recently-deceased partner John Giorno, storied creative, poet and prominent AIDS activist. The artist however did not intend for the understanding of the work to be limited to those of the community, instead offering an experience that is universal, rejecting overbearing intellectualism for “something that everyone can relate to, from a child to an old person, from the East to the West” (Rondinone quoted by Sam Gaskin in Ocula Magazine, 30 October 2014).

    Ugo Rondinone
    Seven Magic Mountains
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Straddling the seemingly impossibly wide chasm between gallery and public space, the artist’s career perhaps has been defined by his larger scale versions of these sculptures, exhibited en-plein-air in Miami, Los Angeles, and most recently at the Tate Liverpool for the city’s Capital of Culture anniversary, whilst also exhibiting at major institutions in Europe, USA, and at the 57th Venice Biennale. His installation for the Nevada Museum of Art, Seven Magic Mountains, became Instagram-famous after its erection, being featured in almost two million posts on the app. This popularity has even infiltrated the fashion world, with Vogue magazine using it as a backdrop for a 2017 photoshoot.

    Though small in comparison to its gargantuan siblings, Blue yellow pink mountain stands at over 6-foot-tall, commanding our attention, and holding an autonomous spatial presence. Yet Rondinone does not want us to feel dominated by this presence, instead seeking us to engage directly with the sculpture with an attitude that champions feeling over thought.


Blue yellow pink mountain

incised with the artist's initials and dated 'U.r. 2017' on the underside
painted stones on pedestal
sculpture: 109.5 x 38.1 x 29 cm. (43 1/8 x 15 x 11 3/8 in.)
pedestal: 72 x 33 x 33.2 cm. (28 3/8 x 12 7/8 x 13 1/8 in.)

Executed in 2017.

HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$1,500,000

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

+852 2318 2026

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 8 July 2020