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Ugo Rondinone: Vocabulary of Solitude

Not one for your coulrophobic friends, this rainbow-hued clown-filled exhibition is best viewed on a sunny day.
By Sarah Templeton
December 01, 2021
By Sarah Templeton
December 01, 2021

We've all become too well-acquainted with the concept of solitude this year thanks to a series of lengthy lockdowns. So get prepared for a groundbreaking new art exhibition to hit home harder than most, showcasing the realities of a world where even the clowns and court jesters have to social distance.

Not one for your coulrophobic friends, Ugo Rondinone's new installation Vocabulary of Solitude opened late November at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, and will run until Sunday February 22, 2022.

A rare New Zealand installation from the New York-based Swiss artist, the exhibition sees a crowd of desolate clowns arranged in various positions on the floor, lit in rainbow hues from brightly-coloured window colour treatments stretched across the gallery windows. Trust us when we say this is one to save for a sunny day.

"Rondinone's performatively costumed and made-up clowns stand in as those figures who remain outside society's mainstream," a statement from Auckland Art Gallery reads. "In a time in which we've spent hours contemplating solitude, Rondinone offers the opportunity to explore notions of being through his community of jesters."

Jennifer French

Top images: Photographer: Jennifer French. Supplied by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, 2021. Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich.

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