Pat Steir and Ugo Rondinone: Waterfalls and Clouds
Waterfalls and Clouds is a joint exhibition by the American painter Pat Steir and Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, which exhibits the final three of a group of 20 sculptures by Rondinone, and shown alongside new large-scale paintings by Steir.
The last three of the 20 works are exhibited, each of which is named after a word from a 20-character poem written by Rondinone. These were conceived in 2007 and were Rondinone's first works using stone in his materials; in this sense, they foreshadow the stone statues and columnar "mountains" he will build later. The gray surfaces of these sculptures are concrete inlaid with pebbles and do not pretend to replicate the stone on which they are based. The artist calls these vast, meandering, and unstable forms "clouds", and their constantly deforming shapes are named after them. However, he personally prefers to talk about smoke, the gray smoke that lingers in the air above the smoker's head and spins unpredictably like his slowly spinning thoughts.
There are not only full of unexpected corners and gaps, but their appearance from either side will not show them what they would look like from another vantage point. The paradox is that the more focused the viewer is, the more likely he or she will be attracted to the details of the constantly changing form of the sculpture, so that it will forget the whole. A person circled them around, not even sure at the beginning whether he was back to the starting point because everything was constantly looking different, revealing aspects that were never familiar. Then there are hallucinations: these abstract forms are full of faces. When many holes in the sculptural form are transformed into eyes, do you feel that your gaze is attracted by other incredible gazes, asking you intently as if you were looking at them? In the endless process of perception, is the perceiver ultimately the one to be perceived?