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Lowland Lullaby, 2002 (detail). Installation at the Swiss Institute, New York, 2002. Hand-printed automotive paint and polyurethane on wood. Dimensions vary with installation. Lowland Lullaby, 2002. Installation at the Swiss Institute, New York, 2002. Hand-printed automotive paint and polyurethane on wood. Foreground: Swiss artist Urs Fischer’s Untitled sculpture. Dimensions vary with installation.
Lowland Lullaby, 2002 (detail). Installation at the Swiss Institute, New York, 2002. Hand-printed automotive paint and polyurethane on wood. Dimensions vary with installation.
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Lowland Lullaby, 2002. Installation at the Swiss Institute, New York, 2002. Hand-printed automotive paint and polyurethane on wood. Foreground: Swiss artist Urs Fischer’s Untitled sculpture. Dimensions vary with installation.
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Ugo Rondinone

Lowland Lullaby is an interactive visual and sound installation in the form of a stage onto which Gallery visitors can walk. The piece was first exhibited at the Swiss Institute in New York, as part of a collaborative installation between Rondinone, Swiss artist Urs Fischer, and spoken-word poet John Giorno. Forty speakers embedded throughout the floor played Giorno’s reading of his poem “There Was a Bad Tree.” This provided a platform for Fischer’s drawings and sculpture, which dangle from the wall and lean onto the platform, contributing to an environment of flux and unrest.

Rondinone’s stage, created in collaboration with the FWM, is made of 100 individual wood sections, hand-printed using black and white car paint in a repeat design. Through a grid of curving lines, the two-dimensional pattern perceptually suggests a three-dimensional undulating space. To protect the pattern, the entire surface was coated with the highest-grade polyurethane, designed for use on buses and airplanes. Using relatively simple means (plywood, speakers, hand-printed paint), Rondinone’s installation investigates the construction and interaction of physical, visual, aural, and social spaces.

In this as well as his other works, Rondinone has used vibrant patterns and bold imager y—in the form of targets, clowns and neon signs—to translate conflicted psychological states into environments that provoke corresponding moods in the viewer. Elizabeth Janus, writing in Artforum, describes the “parallel realities” he creates as “filled with fantasy, angst, monotony, and despair . . . closer to the truth than we’d care to admit” (Artforum, No. 3, November, 1998).

Bio
Swiss, born 1963, lives in New York City
Born in Brunnen, Switzerland, in 1963, Ugo Rondinone’s early artistic formation included a short stint working with the performance artist Hermann Nitsch and his Orgies Mystery Theater. Rondinone attended Vienna’s Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst from 1986 to 1990. He came into prominence in Europe in the early 1990s with installations that explored the contrasts between natural and artificial environments, and combined live actors, sound, painting, photography, and video. Rondinone has had solo exhibitions at museums such as the Kunstalle Zurich, the Centre d’art contemporain in Geneva, and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. Rondinone represented Switzerland at the XXIII Bienal São Paulo in 1996 and the 6th Istanbul Biennial in 1999. His work has also been included in thematic exhibitions such as Let’s Entertain at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2000); L’autre Sommeil at the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris (1999); and Conversation Pieces II at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (1996).