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Ugo Rondinone: LIFE TIME at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

June 24–September 18, 2022

Ugo Rondinone will be the subject of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt’s first significant survey exhibition in Germany (b. 1964). The Swiss artist, one of the most well-known of his generation internationally, is featured in LIFE TIME with some of his most important paintings, sculptures, and videos. He gives commonplace elements and phenomena a lyrical depth in his works. He arranges familiar objects—such as a tree, a clock, the sun, or a rainbow—in fresh situations inside his normally relatively sparsely furnished spaces to produce evocative ambiances. Time and transience, day and night, reality and fantasy, nature and culture—all fundamental elements that have influenced Ugo Rondinone’s work over the past 30 years—are brought together in this show.

Dr. Philipp Demandt, director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, comments on the exhibition: “Following Ugo Rondinone’s work for many years with great enthusiasm, I am all the more delighted that the artist has accepted our invitation to present his first major survey exhibition in Germany at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. His works have been exhibited all over the world, and his luminous rainbows from New York, Paris, and Shanghai are well known. Now one of these great works shines above the Schirn in Frankfurt. Although Rondinone is one of the best-known artists of his generation, his work, underpinned by a peculiar poetry and grounded in a subjective, quasi-universal phenomenology, invariably remains both fascinating and poignant.”

To create a special installation that spans the gallery, the Rotunda, and the roof of the Schirn, Rondinone groups almost 80 of his pieces just for this venue. Five parts that span the whole Schirn gallery make up the main portion of the display. A storyline that follows the change from night to day and from darkness to light develops. Curved Standing Landscape with Entry Door (2022), one of the artist’s massive earth landscape sculptures, was created in response to the site. Additionally, under the title “your age and my age and the age of the moon (2014-ongoing)—meditation on the moon,” thousands of moon drawings made specifically for the exhibition by youngsters are displayed.

Matthias Ulrich, curator of the exhibition, remarks on the artist: “Shaped by biographical experiences such as his first partner’s untimely death from AIDS, Ugo Rondinone’s works address existential themes. A fundamental melancholic mood in terms of a universal worldview is found in each of his works. Both the serially applied motif and the structural plan that is reflected in the title, for example, are part of this concept. In addition, there are recurring art-historical references, the exploration of a variety of media, and a participatory element. It is on the basis of these diverse levels within his art that viewers are inevitably drawn into the maelstrom of Rondinone’s cosmos.”

The exhibition Ugo Rondinone: LIFE TIME is supported by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. The children’s project “Schirn Stars” is supported by the Verein der Freunde der Schirn Kunsthalle e.V.

A catalog edited by Matthias Ulrich has been published in a bilingual edition with a preface by Dr. Philipp Demandt and contributions by Dominic Eichler, Brigitte Franzen, and Matthias Ulrich.

Director: Dr. Philipp Demandt
Curator: Matthias Ulrich, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
60311 Frankfurt am Main
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