Seven Magic Mountains by Ugo Rondinone
Across the desert south of Las Vegas, Nevada, rises a large, colorful anomaly. Seven colossal stone forms defy gravity with their formations. The shapes, reminiscent of naturally-occurring hoodoos, seem poised between monumentality and collapse. The mammoth contemporary cairns created by internationally-renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone evoke the art of meditative rock balancing, and mark his place in the history of Land Art.
Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art present Seven Magic Mountains, a large-scale, site-specific public artwork by Rondinone that has been nearly five years in the making. The installation, comprised of seven individual towering sculptures, is situated on the far southern end of Las Vegas Boulevard along Interstate 15, approximately a half hour from downtown Las Vegas. Positioned within the Ivanpah Valley and surrounded by mountains, the piece will be on view for two years beginning May 11, 2016.
Mediating between geological formations and abstract compositions, Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains consists of locally-sourced limestone boulders stacked vertically in groups ranging between three and six. Each stone boasts a different fluorescent color; each individual totem stands between thirty and thirty-five feet high.
The artwork extends Rondinone’s long-running interest in natural phenomena and their reformulation in art. The titles and forms of his paintings and sculptures have frequently evoked primordial phenomena such as air, moons, the sun, and the cosmos. Referring concurrently to the natural world, romanticism, and existentialism, Seven Magic Mountains encapsulates a sort of mental trinity that has underpinned the artist’s work for more than two decades. In a new iteration of themes and materials, Seven Magic Mountains creates a sense of romantic minimalism.
“Seven Magic Mountains elicits continuities and solidarities between human and nature, artificial and natural, then and now,” states Rondinone.
Located a short distance from Nevada’s legendary Jean Dry Lake where Jean Tinquely and Michael Heizer created significant sculptures, Seven Magic Mountains is one of the largest land-based art installations in the United States completed in over 40 years. The work pays homage to the history of Land Art while also offering a contemporary critique of the simulacra in nearby Las Vegas.
“Seven Magic Mountains is an internationally significant sculptural installation that helps open the door in Nevada to future large-scale, land-based art projects,” said David B. Walker, Nevada Museum of Art executive director and CEO. Added Art Production Fund co-founders Doreen Remen and Yvonne Force Villareal, “Its location on the active Interstate 15 is especially exciting. Approximately 16 million vehicles will pass the work over its two year installation, making i