Ugo Rondinone - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich
    Phillips de Pury & Company, London, ‘Contemporary Art’, 12 February 2010, Lot 4
    Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “My belief in the spiritual and magical power of an artwork. I don’t have to understand an artwork … I only have to feel it.” UGO RONDINONE

    Ugo Rondinone’s DRITTERAPRILZWEITAUSENDUNDSIEBEN, which translates as the date of the work’s execution, the 3rd of April 2007, is one of the Swiss artist’s ongoing series of such works begun in the 1990s. The artist’s intention is to enthral the viewer at first sight by simultaneously questioning our engagement with art in a very pure way. The monumental pictorial quality of the diptych accelerates our desire towards the mystical work of art and invites us to dive into its sphere of new reality. The magical sphere is romantic in a naive way, allowing the idea of a dream to take over the everyday.

    Rondinone’s artistic strategy is based on a strict and precise vocabulary that he shares with fellow Swiss artists such as Peter Fischli & David Weiss and Urs Fischer. Together with other key works such as the clowns, the mask sculptures or the cast trees, Rondinone reuses the target paintings for many exhibitions, reassembling them in repeated arrangements. In this sense, the artist is building up a poetic monologue of a personal artistic reality. “It’s a monologue … The viewer has the symbols from which they can create their own story, but it’s not required that you decode my motivation. It’s a bit like Duchamp. He had his own monologue.” (M.Falconer, ‘Masquerade: Ugo Rondinone Uncovered’, Modern Painters, March 2006)

    Duration is a key component to Rondinone’s practice. As if it were a private diary, his landscape paintings, target paintings and mask sculptures all share the enigmatic title merely indicating the date of making. This is a strategy also used most by the artist On Kawara whose series of Date Paintings illustrate just the date of the painting’s creation. Ugo Rondinone is a master in staging by using direct formal and thematic illusion in order to build his empire of mystical environments. As art always references its own system, the target paintings make clear references to the works of colour field painter Kenneth Nolan, as well as the Targets by Jasper Johns from the 1950s. By appropriating these key works of his predecessors, Rondinone’s work contains a subtle irony directed at modernism. Although the target is closely linked with the acts of looking and aiming, the concentric circles of his version are blurred, annihilating the essence of a target.



diptych: acrylic on linen
each: diameter 220 cm (86 5/8 in)
Signed ‘Ugo Rondinone’ on a label affixed to the reverse of the left part.

£250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for £289,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

10 October 2012