Lot 417
  • 417

Ugo Rondinone

250,000 - 350,000 USD
310,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Ugo Rondinone
  • signed on a label affixed to the stretcher bar
  • acrylic on canvas, Plexiglas plaque with caption


Courtesy of Studio Rondinone, New York and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich

Catalogue Note

As an artist, Ugo Rondinone transcends clear categorization as he moves effortlessly between a variety of visual languages and media producing work that spans from painting and sculpture to video, photography, and sound installations. This versatile artist consciously pushes himself to produce work that distinctly differs from whatever else he has created most recently. As curator Andrea Tarsia once remarked, “It has often been said of Ugo Rondinone’s exhibitions that they resemble group shows with works by several artists. The formal and stylistic diversity that typifies his practice is one in a series of slippages that the artist sets in motion; a continuous shift in register in which style, subject matter, title, references, relationships between parts and the whole, are skillfully played off against each other.” (Exh. Cat., London, Whitechapel Gallery, Ugo Rondinone: Zero Built a Nest in My Navel, 2006, p. 273) Meanwhile, what unifies his sweeping oeuvre is a common sentimentality which rests upon the cusp of celebratory whimsy and melancholic meditation.

From this wide ranging output, among perhaps the most iconic and successful works are Rondinone’s vibrant circle paintings. With this series, Rondinone engages a number of significant art historic references, including formal ties to Kenneth Noland and Jasper John’s famed target paintings and an aesthetic relationship with the patterns and palette of the 1960’s Op Art Movement. Further, these paintings are each entitled with the date on which they were created, evoking the conceptual approach of On Kawara’s celebrated date paintings.

The present work, ACHTZEHNTERMÄRZZWEITAUSENDUNDDREIZEHN, is a prime example of the artist’s iconic acrylic on canvas target paintings. With the paint sprayed rather than brushed onto his canvas, Rondinone’s chromatically vivid concentric rings become hazy, almost melting away at their edges to create an apparent depth and texture which builds a visual complexity for the physically flat work. The hypnotic tondo appears reminiscent of a Buddhist or Hindu mandala, inducing feelings of meditative or transcendental reflection. Calling upon a formalized daily cataloguing system with the date title, Rondinone undercuts his suggestions of sanctity with the banal titling of this work. The painting becomes a testament of presence and of ritualized activity and connects to a larger assembly of work from Rondinone’s impressive output.