Ugo Rondinone: a sky . a sea . distant mountains . horses . spring

Ugo Rondinone Sadie Coles HQ

The spring exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ features new sculptures and paintings by Ugo Rondinone, in which the artist, continuously inspired by the natural world, animates profane subjects like horses, the sea, and the sky to become vessels of spiritual contemplation. Marking the end of lockdown, the exhibition – which spans both London galleries – articulates themes of time, nature, renewal and the psyche, both in its individual parts and as an eclectic whole.

At Kingly Street, Rondinone presents fifteen new sculptures of horses cast from blue glass. Slightly smaller than life-size, each sculpture is formed from two distinct shades of transparent blue – bisected horizontally to suggest a horizon line running through the silhouette of the animal. The contained form of the horse thereby becomes a vessel for a seascape or landscape, an ethereal frame as well as a corporeal representation. Rondinone reverses the traditional formula of a body in a landscape, transposing the ‘landscape’ into the confines of a body in order to imply a microcosmic world. By multiplying the concept across fifteen foal-sized sculptures, he also creates a larger – three-dimensional – landscape of repeating forms.

Rondinone’s horse sculptures embody ideas of space, time and nature that have recurred throughout his work over three decades. Each object suggests a compound of the four elements – water, air, earth (connoted by the body of the horse), and fire, crystallised in the substance of the fired glass. The capsule-like, sealed form of the horse is countered by its intimation of boundless space. Each sculpture moreover projects itself outwards, beyond its glass confines, by casting blue light across the gallery. In this way, the sculptures are prisms that alter the space around them – creating a ‘lightscape’ of shifting blues. Within this environment, the viewer’s own physical presence – vertical, opaque and mobile by contrast with the phantasmal horses – is thrown into relief.

The conjunction of sea and sky is the subject of a painting in the rear of the gallery, in which a rising or sinking sun (or moon) is depicted looming beyond a horizon line. The simple collocation of elements – conveyed through washes of watercolour on canvas – recalls the schematic designs of Rondinone’s various long-running series of paintings, whether his ‘Horizons’ comprised of tiered horizonal lines, or his ‘Suns’ of concentric circles. In a further echo of his earlier practice, the painting’s title is a compound word referencing the date of its completion. Timelessness is annexed with a precise date, and the painting is framed as a mental space to be entered into.

Also at Sadie Coles HQ 1 Davies Street W1

Duration 12 April 2021 - 22 May 2021
Times see website
Cost Free
Venue Sadie Coles (Kingly Street)
Address 62 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5QN
Contact 020 7493 8611 / /