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Ugo Rondinone

the clear, 2013
bluestone and stainless steel with concrete pedestal
sculpture: 140.5 x 50.0 x 34.5 cm; base: 36.0 x 63.5 x 63.5 cm
In 2013, Ugo Rondinone created a temporary installation called Human Nature, consisting of nine giant stone figures, which found in an obvious or almost natural way, their rightful place in Rockefeller Plaza, surrounded by monumental buildings. At the same time, the artist exhibited a group of thirty-seven nearly life-size sculptures, of which the clear and the ardent are part. Collectively called Soul, the stone figures were presented in a vast space in the Gladstone Gallery in New York, where they formed a silent and heterogeneous crowd.

This set of sculptures was created in bluestone and granite, directly extracted from the ground and cut into blocks which were then assembled just as they were, mounted one on the other in order to give shape to a human silhouette. The way in which the stone had been worked was deliberately left apparent, without finishing or polishing. Its surface thus presents the visible traces of the drilling and rough cutting up which display the successive manipulations the stone underwent at the quarry. This non-finito effect lends a primitive character to these figures, which forcefully impose their earthly, tangible presence, while highlighting the true nature of the stone: a rough, heavy, solid material marked by time.

Of various sizes, installed on concrete plinths of different heights, these sculptures bear all the evocative names of the temperaments which subtly reflect the diversity of human nature. Kinds of relics from another world, whose archaic appearance recalls the mysterious megaliths of Stonehenge, these stone characters nevertheless manage to shatter the measure of time and to embody a familiar presence, both benevolent and reassuring.
Ugo Rondinone, the clear, le clair, 2013