Rachel Merrill and Devon Merrill "Wearlight" (detail)

Ugo Rondinone: “good evening beautiful blue” at The Bass

Ugo Rondinone’s good evening beautiful blue has just a few more days on display at the The Bass in Miami Beach, Florida (closes February 19th, 2018). Spanning the entirety of the museum’s second floor, good evening beautiful blue is part of a major retrospective featuring works that span three decades of Rondinone’s practice—from the late 1990s to the present. From poetic installations in public spaces to life-size drawings, Rondinone’s work balances on the edge of euphoria and detachment.

Ugo Rondinone vocabulary of solitude (installation). Photo: Zachary Balber.


The exhibition begins with Rondinone’s clockwork for oracles II—a multi-wall installation comprised of 52-mirrored windows (one for each week in the year) set against a backdrop of whitewashed pages from a local newspaper. Visitors will encounter their mirrored reflections, stopping momentarily to contemplate their temporary presence in the room contrasted with the dated newsprint behind the windows, which becomes more distant throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Ugo Rondinone clockwork for oracles II (installation). Photo: Zachary Balber.

Ugo Rondinone clockwork for oracles II (installation). Photo: Zachary Balber.

The subsequent gallery houses the centerpiece of the exhibition, vocabulary of solitude—an installation of 45 life-size clown figures cast from 22 men and 23 women of various ages and ethnicities. The work takes inspiration from the artist’s reflection on his daily actions, where each figure is engaged in a different quotidian activity, such as sleeping, dreaming, remembering, showering and walking.

Ugo Rondinone vocabulary of solitude (installation). Photo: Zachary Balber.

Ugo Rondinone vocabulary of solitude (detail). Photo: Zachary Balber.

Ugo Rondinone vocabulary of solitude (detail). Photo: Zachary Balber.

Ugo Rondinone vocabulary of solitude (detail). Photo: Zachary Balber.

Marking its first appearance in the US in nearly two decades, the final gallery presents an immersive six-channel video installation titled It’s late It’s late and the wind carries a faint sound as it moves through the trees. It could be anything. The jingling of little bells perhaps, or the tiny flickering out of tiny lives. I stroll down the sidewalk and close my eyes and open them and wait for my mind to go perfectly blank. Like a room no one has ever entered, a room without any doors or windows. A place where nothing happens. The entire room is given a blue tint by an illuminated ceiling, as projected slow-motion loops of six men and six women, alone in their frames, perform an unresolved gesture without acknowledging the viewer, like opening an apartment door, or floating (or sinking) in water.

Ugo Rondinone It’s late It’s late and the wind carries a faint sound as it moves through the trees. It could be anything. The jingling of little bells perhaps, or the tiny flickering out of tiny lives. I stroll down the sidewalk and close my eyes and open them and wait for my mind to go perfectly blank. Like a room no one has ever entered, a room without any doors or windows. A place where nothing happens. (installation). Photo: Zachary Balber.

The final line of the work’s narrative title …A place where nothing happens. aptly describes the cyclical loop of movements performed by each figure, resulting in a thought provoking and introspective space. Together, the selection of works places the visitor in an arena of contemplation and introspection, confronted by installations that stimulate self-reflection.

I was fortunate to see Rondinone’s exhibition the world just makes me laugh at University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive this past summer, and it was a moving experience. If you’re in the area, definitely check it out!

Lauren Sinner

  • All images and press information provided is courtesy of The Bass, Miami Beach, Florida.

Ugo Rondinone vocabulary of solitude (installation). Photo: Zachary Balber.

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