artist ugo rondinone measures faith in ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery

artist ugo rondinone measures faith in ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery

Devotion to entities and orders

 

To devote oneself to a religious order, deity, spirit, values, philosophy, or other entities of beliefs requires faith, consistency, and rigidity in the continuity of practice. Perhaps a stereotype, perhaps the truth. The conservation of fidelity to one’s creed gives birth to a holy person, one that artist Ugo Rondinone explores in the exhibition ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at Kukje Gallery in Korea.

 

‘I make sculptures of what it means and feels like to see, whether this is understood to be a physical or metaphysical phenomenon,’ the artist says. The mystery and gravity of a holy person trail the sculptures of the artist, all evoking the essence of simplicity and harmony, a journey to reach finality. No beads to thumb through, no altar to bow down to. The exhibition displays anthropomorphic figures consisting of two distinctly painted parts, a single large monolithic stone capped with a smaller headstone, each figure exudes a distinct personality.

artist ugo rondinone measures faith in ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery
portait by Brigitte Lacombe

 

 

The holy acts of faith 

 

Rather than feeling the weight of the symbolism, viewers revere the towering, mythic beings whose presence welcomes the living beings. The rough edges and textures of the sculptures depict authorities unshackled from restrictions, demands, and obligations; stepping into their power as inanimate healers. 

 

Originally composed using smaller limestone maquettes, the artist has scanned and enlarged them in cast bronze capturing the more intimate attributes of the studies and creating an uncanny balance of finely textured forms and towering proportion. They favor the taste of Rondinone for monumental installations as seen in human nature at the Rockefeller Plaza in 2013 and seven magic mountains in the Nevada Desert in 2016.

 

For his recent exhibition, the artist tests stone as a measure of faith, an object of the Earth and the spiritual realm he venerates for its ‘innate beauty and energy, its structural quality, its surface texture, and its ability to collect and condense time.’ The gift of stone to absorb stories of decades and the surrounding energies bridges its blessing to Rondinone’s approach to paint the walls and floors of the exhibition with a concrete hue, a gesture of penchant for stones.

artist ugo rondinone measures faith in ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery
images provided by kukje gallery

 

 

Coexisting in dual spaces

 

‘nuns and monks by the sea’ acts as a new multi-venue exhibition, installed in both the gallery’s Seoul and Busan spaces. This is the artist’s third solo exhibition in Seoul and his first in Busan. Rondinone frequently adopts the method of displaying his works in multiple settings simultaneously, allowing him to directly engage with space and time to broaden the experiential spectrum of his crafts.

 

He urges the viewers to wander through his art, both physically and metaphysically, to envelop their senses with everything they see, hear, touch, and experience. The theme of openness recurs in Rondinone’s work and runs through all of his endeavors, regardless of material or symbolism. 

 

For nearly four decades, Ugo Rondinone has been creating visual works that invite viewers to rejuvenate their senses and become more sensitive to the natural resonances that surround them. As a result, his works serve as a witness and a salve to individuals who may be lamenting the impermanence of life. 

 

Walking across the entrance in the Busan space of his exhibition, viewers confront a queue of sunsets, as if watching time repeat itself, an almost unbearable testament and a profound meditation on what the artist refers to as ‘the living universe,’ where his work records the elemental features of nature.

artist ugo rondinone measures faith in ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery
artist ugo rondinone measures faith in ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery

artist ugo rondinone measures faith in ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery
‘nuns and monks by the sea’ installation view

artist ugo rondinone measures faith in ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery
the sculptures tower the viewers

artist ugo rondinone measures faith in ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery
the queue of sunsets

artist ugo rondinone measures faith in ‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery
the artist urges the viewers to wander through his art

nuns-monks-db-ban

‘nuns and monks by the sea’ at kukje gallery

EXHIBITION DESIGN (221)

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES (509)

SCULPTURE (253)

UGO RONDINONE (10)

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