Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool have announced a new joint project with internationally acclaimed artist Ugo Rondinone – his first major work in the UK. The sculpture, called Liverpool Mountain will stand at over 10 metres tall, next to Tate Liverpool in Royal Albert Dock Liverpool. The work is planned to be unveiled this autumn.
The artwork celebrates Liverpool City Region’s commitment to supporting bold, contemporary art and its status as a world renowned cultural destination. Part of the Liverpool 2018 programme, the project marks the 10th anniversary of Liverpool European Capital of Culture, the 20th anniversary of Liverpool Biennial and the 30th anniversary of Tate Liverpool.
Ugo Rondinone is famous for creating large scale public art sculptures. His work for Liverpool is part of the artist’s mountain series and will be similar to the technicolour towers he has created in Miami and Las Vegas which are designed to elevate their surroundings.
Liverpool Mountain will be Rondinone’s first public artwork in the UK and the first of its kind in Europe. Rising ten metres, the sculptures consist of rocks stacked vertically, with each stone painted a different fluorescent colour. Inspired by naturally occurring Hoodoos (spires or pyramids of rock) and the art of meditative rock balancing, they seem to defy gravity in their teetering formations, poised between the natural, the artificial and the manmade.
The sculpture will transform the Mermaid Courtyard area, next to Tate Liverpool at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, a previously under-used space on the World Heritage site.
This new project takes forward Liverpool’s outstanding tradition of working with world class artists to create public art for key sites around the City Region that have become treasured landmarks and part of the fabric of life in the city. These have included:
Peter Blake’s Everybody Razzle Dazzle (2015), which covers the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop in a distinctive pattern in monochrome and colour, and has now become a much-loved feature of Liverpool’s waterfront life.
Jaume Plensa’s Dream (2009), chosen by a group of ex-miners and commissioned by St. Helens Council. Sited on top of the former Sutton Manor Colliery, Dream stands 20 metres high midway between Liverpool and Manchester.
Antony Gormley’s Another Place (2005) consisting of 100 cast-iron sculptures that stretch across 3km of Crosby Beach, Merseyside. The piece has become one of the most well-loved and widely recognised public artworks in the UK.
Ugo Rondinone is one of the most noted contemporary artists today, working in a wide range of styles and materials. The Swiss artist’s public artworks are often created as a series in different cities around the world over a number of years. His famous works include Rainbow Poems, arched neon signs that spell a poem as a rainbow; Human Nature, a group of monumental stone figures in Rockefeller Center, New York, that resembled primitive robotic creatures created from the rocks of Stonehenge; and a series of mask sculptures he calls Moonrise which have been exhibited in galleries and public spaces around the world.
Ugo Rondinone’s Liverpool Mountain is one of a number of events forming part of the Liverpool 2018 programme, which is supported by £5million from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Other events in the programme include China Dream, Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta, the finale of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and the return of the Giants possible. The project is supported by Royal Albert Dock Liverpool.
Sally Tallant, director, Liverpool Biennial, said:
“Following in Liverpool’s great tradition of sculpture in public spaces, I am delighted that Ugo Rondinone, an internationally acclaimed artist, has accepted this major new project. It is a sign of the confidence and creativity of Liverpool as a world city, which is of course home to Liverpool Biennial, the UK’s biggest celebration of contemporary art.”
“2018 marks 30 years since Tate Liverpool opened and we’re proud to say we’ve welcomed more that 18 million visitors over the last three decades. We play a critical role in the city by bringing outstanding international and British art to the region and we’re delighted to be working together with Liverpool Biennial, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool and the city to bring this important artist and his work to Liverpool.”
Sue Grindrod, chief executive of Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, said:
“As we count up towards Royal Albert Dock Liverpool’s 175th anniversary, exciting new things have been arriving through the Dock for over 172 years, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Biennial, Tate Liverpool and Liverpool City Council to bring this piece of public realm art to Mermaid Courtyard.
“Ugo Rondinone’s work is striking, it is certain to stimulate the debate about the part that public art plays in the cultural landscape of the UNESCO World Heritage Waterfront. I am so delighted that the Dock is able to be the guardian of this work as we head toward a year of celebration in 2021.”