Do you like monumental sculpture? I sure do. If that also happens to be your thing, and you’ve been looking for an excuse to head back over to the Chelsea Gallery District, you will want to know that Gladstone Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of new sculptures by Ugo Rondinone from the artist’s latest body of work, nuns + monks — and these things are massive.
In 2020, when three simultaneous exhibitions from this sculpture series opened in Berlin, Zurich, and Rome, Rondinone made the following comments in an interview with Mitchell Anderson for Italian cotemporary art magazine, Mousse.
“The concentrated symbolic energy of the new body of work goes hand in hand with its synchronous presentation. Once I lift up a new sculpture in three different places at the same time, the sculpture has a greater chance to enter people’s souls. The work is open but sharp and suffused with a combination of humor and pathos.
“At the same time, it represents an investigation of the mutable potential of sculpture as both a physical medium and a site of rich cultural disclosure in contemporary art.
“As the exhibition’s title suggests, the sculptures in nuns + monks address varied iconographies associated with these most resonant of forms. Nuns and monks occupy the literal and figurative centers of human life, but they also appear in a wide range of social and narrative contexts. I wanted to reveal the multivalent potential of nuns and monks as vessel and beacon, human body and mystical source.
“In so doing, the work reveals a broad array of interests, notable for both historical depth and up-to-the-minute urgency. Through human history religious imagery has had immense transformational power; a familiar symbol can transform another symbol, like a stone, into something richly metaphorical.
Ugo Rondinone’s nuns + monks will be on Exhibit Through June 18th, 2021 at Gladstone Gallery, Located at 530 West 21st Street in the Chelsea Gallery District, NYC.