Zweiundzwanzigisterjulineunzehnhundertachtundneunzig 1998, protrudes into the viewer’s space while remaining a fat acrylic on canvas work. When confronted with the crisply feathered contours of the blue, green, red and orange hues, the viewer is hypnotised by the vivid colour and true fatness. However, the colourist arrangement of concentric circles appears to glow giving way to an illusion of a concave plane. Compositionally, Rondinone recalls the colour field, Abstract Expressionism of Kenneth Noland while evoking the dimensionality produced by Anish Kapoor.
Though while importing some of the visual vocabulary of Abstract Expressionism, Rondinone does so not only as a means of appropriation, but does so as a rebuke against the movement. Opposing the automatism of both the action and colour field painters, the artist applies acrylic paint through a spray can. There is no personal trace of the artist. It is with this detached sense of irony that Rondinone has created a work which dismisses the solutions reached by his predecessors in a humorous and playful manner.
The intrusive confrontation of Rondinone’s canvas forces the viewer to address the duality proposed: the personal impressions of experiencing the work diverge from our awareness of the art historical allusions within which it is framed. Andrea Tarsia states ‘Underlying all Rondinone’s work is a tension between interior essence and exterior appearance, enacted first of all in a disparity between form and content’ (A. Tarsia, Ugo Rondinone Zero Built a Nest in my Navel, exh. cat., London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 2005, p. 275). By addressing both the inner and outer worlds of being, the artist prevents the viewer from reaching a conclusion on the ultimate meaning, but he provides a transcendental experience filled with aesthetic resonance.
Rondinone’s works confront the viewer to address subjectivity and the basic motifs of daily existence; anxiety, isolation, and the nature of being. The TARGET paintings specifically impose a personal internal experience by violating the viewer’s space through illusion. The concentric blurred circles hypnotise and capture the viewer spiralling them into a world of self-refection. At a time when seriousness is viewed with scepticism and distrust in the consciousness of young artists, Rondinone stands out in his willingness to probe the big issues of human existence and self-indulgence through humour.