About the Artwork

Ugo Rondinone’s series of twelve giant masks – each named for a month of the year – are at once monolithic and ghostlike, their massive bronze forms offset by a shimmering silver patina. Set on top of concrete plinths, the globular, elongated heads express distinct moods – variously smiling, menacing and doleful – and pick up on Rondinone’s recurring motif, the mask. The sculptures also resemble primordial totems, in particular the gigantic stone heads of Easter Island; and their mythic titles enhance this subtext of archaic pagan ritual. At the same time, the works are playfully anthropomorphic – the expressions taking on a cartoonish air. Their finger-pitted surfaces emphasise their human crafting – reminding us of the gradual process of clay modelling out of which they arose.

Year: 2005

Copyright Ugo Rondinone, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo © Nick Turpin


Cast bronze, silver car paint, concrete plinth


200 x 130 x 150 cm

Artist Biography

Ugo Rondinone

Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone (b. 1964) makes sculptures in various styles and materials (including an ongoing series titled still.life, and a number of large-scale masks), monumental landscape drawings, intimate still life drawings, and text-based works. His works are united by a strongly poetic quality, and evidence an enduring preoccupation with universal themes such as time, cosmic cycles, or the primordial opposition of day and night. Rondinone’s SUNRISE masks are twelve giant elongated heads cast from aluminium, expressing a range of moods – variously smiling, menacing and doleful. Each named for a month of the year, the works pick up on one of Rondinone’s recurring motifs, the mask. His earlier series MOONRISE, 2005, drew explicitly upon carnivalesque and African tribal designs. Ugo Rondinone lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Vocabulary of Solitude, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2016); naturaleza humana, Museo Anahuacalli, Coyoacan, Mexico, 2014; and thank you silence, M Museum, Leuven, Belgium, (2013). In Spring 2016, his public outdoor installation, Seven Magic Mountains, opened in the Nevada desert, co-produced by New York’s Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art, Reno (NE).