the sun, 2018

Basel 2019
Gladstone Gallery, Galerie Eva Presenhuber
Gilded bronze; 490 x 536 x 53 cm; edition of 3 + 1 AP
Since the 1990s, Ugo Rondinone has examined the link between the natural world and the human condition, mining the German Romantic movement – and particularly Caspar David Friedrich – as a primary source of reference, in order to create works wherein the commonplace of everyday occurrences and materials gives way to the sublimity of environmental phenomena. This piece is one of Rondinone’s newest series of ‘sun’ sculptures. Begun in 2016, and most recently exhibited at Gladstone Gallery in New York tackling the notion of temporality. Composed of branches cast in bronze and then gilded, the world’s oldest gauge of time is rendered static. The stationary presentation of a dynamic natural occurrence calls into question not only our conception of time’s passage, but also the ways in which we view nature through artificial constructs. In the same breath, by fashioning abstracted solar forms from the branches of real-life trees, Rondinone venerates the quotidian world as nothing short of extraordinary. Rondinone’s monumental the sun thus blurs the distinctions between natural and artificial, fact and myth, while straddling the line between the high-art connotations of classical sculpture and the low-art tropes of kitsch.