Ugo Rondinone - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Sunday, June 26, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Zurich, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Soul, 9 June-20 July 2013

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 2013, Rondinone decided to work with stone. Hitherto, he had explored media ranging from wax, paint and stained glass, to bronze, lead and earth. His use of the bluestone from the quarry near his Pennsylvania house, however, engendered a set of works unique in their conjunction of the maximally abstract and the maximally particular.

    Exploring Samuel Beckett’s notion of existentialism and Caspar David Friedrich’s romanticism, the sculptures of this series bear the influence of these predecessors. Just as the signifiers of a Beckett play are sufficiently abstract that the viewer may project onto them the relations they believe to characterise their own particular reality, the bluestone sculptures - evincing only weathering so ancient as to be almost atemporal – are similarly free of specific socio-historical reference-points. In accordance with Beckett’s abstraction, the sculptures exist as wholly material, isolated entities.

    However, the works also reveal an emphasis on the particular; an emphasis which is distinctly romantic. Ugo’s grandfather Frederico lived and worked in Sassi di Matera – a collection of cave-dwellings in Southern Italy dating back 9,000 years. For generations, and even after the emergence of poverty-alleviating Christianity in Italy, the workers of the region were de facto slaves to rich landowning families. A stone (or sasso) drilled with a hole was used to identify the workers and the landowners to which they were bound. Rondinone’s father Benito gave him Frederico’s sasso, which, following a period of rejecting his origins, became recently for Ugo an important symbol of his past. It is clear that the stone people Ugo created in the series Soul – stone people like those of the present lot – are affectionate, loving, mythologizing celebrations of the particular people and land of his origin.


The Pleased and the Delighted

bluestone, granite, steel
overall: 165.2 x 76 x 45 cm (65 x 29 7/8 x 17 3/4 in.)
Incised 'Ugo Rondinone "the pleased + the delighted" 2013' on the base.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £281,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 27 June 2016