The 15th Istanbul Biennial (16 September - 12 November) is getting ready to bestow a present to the city with the support of Koç Holding. Within the scope of the Biennial, celebrating its 30th anniversary, world renowned artist Ugo Rondinone's rainbow, which was displayed at the Taksim Square in 1999, reunites with the Istanbulites at the Mustafa Kemal Cultural Centre near the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.
Within the scope of a new agreement signed between the Istanbul Biennial and the 2007-2026 Biennial Sponsor Koç Holding, the biennial will leave the city a permanent work in every edition, starting with this year. The first surprise of the project is Ugo Rondinone, one of the most racy and prolific figures of today's art scene, who is participating in the 15th Istanbul Biennial with a permanent installation of his neon sculpture, "Where Do We Go From Here?" that is a part of his series, Rainbow Poems (1997-2017).
Ugo Rondinone's rainbow sculpture composed of neon lights was made for the 6th Istanbul Biennial eighteen years ago in 1999 and was displayed at the Taksim Square. Now in the 30th anniversary of the biennial, a new arrangement of the work will be placed on the roof of the Mustafa Kemal Cultural Centre (MKM), which is located near the European leg of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge on the Bosphorus and which has been a significant cultural venue for Istanbul since 2004.
Rondinone's iconic work, "Where Do We Go From Here?" will be displayed in Istanbul permanently with the support of Koç Holding. To be displayed next to the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, the neon sculpture will be viewed by thousands crossing the bridge every day, and have Istanbul join the other cities of the world where Rondinone's works are publicly displayed. Ugo Rondinone says: "My intention is to make a poetic touch in public space through the paradox of a night-time rainbow."
The work asks the question "Where Do We Go From Here?" with the aim of making the passers-by think about their future and their hopes. The colours emerging from darkness represent a harbinger of hope or a positive message. By re-installing the same work he displayed in the 6th Istanbul Biennial at the beginning of his career, Rondinone also gives a reference to the history of both the biennial and the city.
Who is Ugo Rondinone?
Born in 1964 in Switzerland, Ugo Rondinone graduated from the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunste in Vienna in 1990. A winner of multiple awards, his works concentrate on such themes as desire, longing, and conception. He currently continues to work in New York, creating mixed-media installations that include sculpture, painting, video, sound, and photography. Conveying his profound interest in the contemplation of everyday life and activities in many of his works, Rondinone opts to mould reality in a poetic style. Rondinone has represented his home country in the 2007 Venice Biennale, and his work can be found in the permanent collection of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. He has displayed his works at prestigious venues, including The Garage (Moscow), Place Vendôme (Paris), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai), and Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney). He was bestowed the Honorary Award by the Bomb Benefit Gala in 2015. Rondinone is a pre-eminent figure in the field of art in public space.