reviews

Ugo Rondinone, ALL THOSE DOORS, 2003. Installation view, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2006.

Ugo Rondinone

Whitechapel Gallery

“Every day I set less store on intellect,” writes Marcel Proust in the essay “Against Sainte-Beuve,” privileging instinct and sensorial experience instead. In Ugo Rondinone’s first major London show, he would seem to work in the same spirit, since the exhibition’s melancholic title—“zero built a nest in my navel”—clearly speaks to gut feelings. Indeed, audiences at the Whitechapel Art Gallery initially have little else to go on, experiencing a considerable interlude of rebuffed quizzicality on first entering the galleries, followed by the realization that Rondinone’s cryptic installation is aimed less at the mind than at the nervous system. The Swiss artist floods the first space with four bars of piano music—a few chords of Erik Satie–like anomie—endlessly looped. Then he ushers audiences into the disorienting Minimalist labyrinth of ALL THOSE DOORS, 2003, a pergola-like construction of

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