NEW YORK, NY.-
For seven weeks this spring, nine 16-to 20-foot-tall, human-shaped stone figures by Swiss-born, New York-based artist Ugo Rondinone, will transform Rockefeller Center, inhabiting the plaza between 49th and 50th Streets as if transported from another time. The work, Human Nature, is free to the public and, is on view April 23 through June 7, 2013. Presented by Nespresso, the exhibition is organized by Public Art Fund
and Tishman Speyer.
Human Nature is a stark contrast to its highly developed architectural surroundings in Midtown Manhattan. The irregular natural surfaces of the stone are left bare, while the human figureperhaps the original artistic subjectis represented as a simple yet imposing composition, defined by its towering legs, massive torso, and boulder-like head. Archaic and enduring forms, these colossal figures invite visitors to wander amongst their legs and touch their roughhewn surfaces.
We are proud to continue our long-standing tradition of presenting public art at Rockefeller Center with Ugo Rondinones Human Nature, said Tishman Speyer Co-Chief Executive Officers Jerry Speyer and Rob Speyer. Rockefeller Center is New York Citys greatest public venue, a place where timeless architecture and art come together. The work of a brilliantly inventive artist like Ugo Rondinone will add perfectly to the Centers artistic identityparticularly as Human Nature was originally inspired by the very plaza where it will now stand.
Mythic in scale and imagery, visceral in character and impact, Human Nature reconnects the contemporary world with our most ancient origins, said Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator. Conceived directly for Rockefeller Center, this installation launches an important new body of work for Ugo; were delighted that it will debut on center stage at this iconic New York City location.
The stone figure is the most archetypal representation of the human form; an elemental symbol of the human spirit, connected to the earth yet mythic in the imagination. The image of the figure belongs to nobody, is timeless, and universal, said artist Ugo Rondinone.
As a brand rooted in innovation and design, we are constantly seeking inspiration through art and culture from all over the world, said Frederic Levy, President, Nespresso USA. It is an honor to be the premier sponsor of Ugo Rondinones Human Nature at Rockefeller Center and to be part of an event that so beautifully celebrates artistic expression and shares in our passion to inspire and be inspired.
The figures populate the plaza where the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is displayed, the massive forms of their legs and shoulders forming post-and-lintel structures beneath and among which visitors are able to walk.
To create these nine unique figures, the artist quarried massive bluestone slabs, leaving their surfaces as they were found: heavy and coarse, scored by quartz veins, and marked by wind, weather, and erosion. The stones were then rough-cut into blocks and stacked on top of each other to resemble the most recognizable features of the human form.
For more than 20 years, Rondinone has produced a strikingly diverse body of work that includes trance-inducing mandala paintings, figurative sculptures, large-scale landscape drawings, and immersive multi-channel video installations. In recent years he has increasingly turned his attention to public projects. His rainbow neon sign sculpture, Hell, Yes!, adorned the façade of the New Museum on the Bowery from its opening in November 2007 until December 2010.
Since 1998, Public Art Fund and Tishman Speyer have collaborated to present internationally acclaimed works of art to the millions of people who visit and work at Rockefeller Center. Recent projects include Anish Kapoors Sky Mirror in 2006, which received the award for Best Show in a Public Space by the U.S. Art Critics Association, Jonathan Borofskys monumental sculpture Walking to the Sky in 2004, and Chris Burdens What My Dad Gave Me in 2008, a 65-foot tall skyscraper made up entirely of construction parts. In 2003, Takashi Murakamis Reversed Double Helix featured Mr. Pointy, his largest freestanding sculpture to date, two giant floating balloons suspended over the center, and mushroom seating. Nam June Paiks Transmission broadcast a nightly laser display around the plaza in the summer of 2002. In 2001, Louise Bourgeois presented three massive bronze spiders, including the 30-foot-tall Maman, which was preceded in 2000 by Jeff Koons monumental topiary Puppy, which blossomed at the foot of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.