Ugo Rondinone - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 4, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, United Kingdom

  • Exhibited

    Leon, Museo de Art Contemporàneo de Castilla y León, Ugo Rondinone: The Night of Lead, 11 July - 10 January 2009 (another example exhibited)
    Paris, Tuileries Garden, Festival d’Automne, 17 September - 15 November 2009 (another example exhibited)
    Deurle, Museum Dont-Dhaenens, Biennial of the Art of Painting: Beyond the Sublime, 7 April - 19 September 2010 (another example exhibited)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Ugo Rondinone’s SUNRISE. east. march is more statue than sculpture: it is a two-metre high hulk of amorphous metal in the midst of which is a face with vast round eyes and a gaping grin. Created in 2007, this huge sculpture of a head has big pointy teeth which should render it a terror; however, this is counterbalanced by its humorous charm and wide-eyed innocence. These latter factors give a sense of the optimism of the start of a new day. This sculpture forms part of Rondinone’s celebrated Sunrise East series, a group of twelve silver-painted bronzes named after the months of the year which have subsequently been displayed internationally, not least at the Jardin des Tuileries in 2009.

    Despite its apparent simplicity, SUNRISE. east. march makes references to a number of different cultural realms. The rear of the head is near enough abstraction that it recalls the Chinese scholar’s rocks that Rondinone collects, the contemplative microcosms of the universe that have inspired him. Meanwhile, the face itself is modelled on a ritual mask. Many of the Sunrise East sculptures took their form from the masks of the Yupik, an Inuit tribe in Alaska. In this way, they were following the path of his preceding Moonrise series, in which Rondinone used African sculptures and animal masks as their source material. However, in his artistic distortions through scale and material, Rondinone has left the tribal origins of SUNRISE. east. march far behind: the surface is mottled with the imprint of the fingermarks from the modelling process, adding a level of facture; the sculpture is cast in bronze, a material associated with fine art; and the entirety has been bedecked with silver car paint. This adds a luminosity to the work that may be appropriate given its subject matter, yet also introduces an industrial sheen that appears deliberately at odds with the ritualistic origins of the mask.

    Rondinone has been producing series of masks since 2002, initially conceived as wall-objects and later moulded into large-scale figures. This recurring motif has become a trademark of his oeuvre. Sunrise came next after the Moonrise series, just as day follows night. All of these sculptures are linked to one of Rondinone’s most central themes: the inexorable and cyclic passage of time.


SUNRISE. east. march

cast bronze with silver auto paint and concrete plinth
248 x 117 x 118 cm (97 5/8 x 46 1/8 x 46 1/2 in.)
Executed in 2007, this work is the first artist's proof from an edition of 1 plus 2 artist's proof.

£200,000 - 300,000 

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

Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 5 October 2016