Yokohama Triennale 2011: OUR MAGIC HOUR

Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama / Japan

July 28, 2011

How Much Of The World Can We Know?

Yokohama, Japan

August 6–November 6, 2011

For the fourth edition of the Yokohama Triennale, Ugo Rondinone has created in particular for this occasion a new neon sculpture entitled OUR MAGIC HOUR. The work with a height of over sixteen feet is placed prominently on the rooftop of the Yokohama Museum of Art, welcoming the visitors. Its rainbow-colored letterings visualize a poem in the tradition of the Japanese haiku poetry, which also functions as exhibition title of the Yokohama Triennale 2011, refined by the subtitle “How Much of the World Can We Know?”. The theme of the Triennale focuses on works of art that refer to the mysteries of the world and our everyday lives—such things as magic-like powers, supernatural phenomena, mythology, legend and animism. In this sense, it becomes apparent why the artistic director Akiko Miki has chosen Ugo Rondinone’s renowned series of the MOONRISE. east masks as core presentation for this year’s Triennale. 

The large-scale installation of the sculptures is on display in the forecourt, in front of the main venue, the Yokohama Museum of Art. The work comprises twelve sculptures, measuring approximately six feet in height. Each is a disembodied head, set atop a plinth of old, weathered wood. These pieces, which are the artist’s first free-standing figurative sculptures and were conceived in 2005, represent the fourth and last group of a series of masks that the titled “MOONRISE.” Each group is named after a point of the compass, and each of the expressive heads bears the name of a calendar month.

The process of creation is still visible. Originally, the twelve gentle giants with the finger-stroked surfaces were modeled in brown clay, then cast in aluminum and lacquered to match the colour of the material the models were shaped with.

Whereas the message of the neon work “OUR MAGIC HOUR” incorporates perfectly the approach of this year’s Triennale—to rethink human existence and our surroundings with the pure curiosity, flexibility and imagination of a child, and without the limiting influence of existing structures and ideas—the archaic, playful mask sculptures have the same effect. Ugo Rondinone’s oeuvre reflects since its beginnings the relationships between the natural and the artificial and is characterized by the attempt to visualize the spiritual dimension behind reality, creating an imaginary world behind the visible surface.

Under these aspects, the presentation of Ugo Rondinone’s works marks a great access to the Yokohama Triennale 2011.

In addition to Ugo Rondinone another artist of Galerie Eva Presenhuber’s program is taking part at the Yokohama Triennale: The American painter Verne Dawson will be presenting a large sized mural covering the four walls of a square exhibition space.

The opening of the Yokohama Triennale 2011 will be held on August 5th, the exhibition will open for the public on August 6th, and it will close its doors on November 6th, 2011.

Yokohama Museum of Art, 3-4-1, Minatomirai Nishi-Ku, Yokohama 220-0012, Japan,

© the artist
Courtesy of Organizing Committe for Yokohama Triennale