Where on show on show in

galleries C, D & E

on the first floor

Ugo Rondinone

Vocabulary of Solitude

13 February - 29 May 2016

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You can order your tickets for this exhibition now

Buy your tickets

Vocabulary of Solitude

This spring you can explore the magical world of artist Ugo Rondinone (Brunnen 1964) in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. He will bring together new and existing works in a large installation like a colour spectrum revealing the various facets of existence. Forty-five life-size clown sculptures will form the centrepiece of his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands: ‘Ugo Rondinone -Vocabulary of Solitude’.

Something strange happens every time you look at Rondinone’s art. He gives everyday motifs and images a poetic dimension by isolating or enlarging them. On the floor of the 1500m2 Bodon Galleries visitors will move between life-size clown figures. With titles in the present tense, such as be, breathe, remember, feel and yawn, the clowns in the exhibition represent a 24-hour day in the life of an individual. These clown sculptures have never previously been exhibited.


The rainbow has a holistic significance for Rondinone: a symbol that is all-embracing in its form, colour and familiarity. The installation includes half mandala paintings created with an airbrush technique. The optical effect of the large rainbow bands of colour makes them dance before your eyes. The rainbow theme continues in thousands of drawings by children: young artists who have responded to the artist’s request for help in creating a 4 x 30 metre wall of rainbow drawings.

Ugo Rondinone, vierzehnterseptemberzweitausendundfünfzehn, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 270 x 540 cm


The 45 clowns shown in the exhibition have titles in the present tense, such as be, breath, remember, feel and yawn. Together, they describe a day in the life of an individual. Just as a prism splits white light into all the colours of the rainbow, in this installation Rondinone reveals the various aspects of human existence.

Ugo Rondinone, vocabulary of solitude, 2015, milled foam and epoxy resin, fabric, 89 x 75 x 116 cm

Rondinone lets his installations speak for themselves. A work of art is only a success if the beholder feels no need to think and is naturally thrust in a certain direction: ‘Good art revolutionises your whole being. It is something that stops you, or slows you down.’

Ugo Rondinone, vocabulary of solitude, 2015, milled foam and epoxy resin, fabric, 84 x 80 x 124 cm

“Good art revolutionizes your whole being. It is something that stops you, or slows you down”

Ugo Rondinone

Objects in the exhibition

With his installations Ugo creates personal dreamscapes. This installation, entitled Vocabulary of Solitude, is a retrospective exhibition of his works inspired by the colour spectrum. Clowns, clocks, candles, shoes, windows, light bulbs and rainbows: they are recognisable images that speak to all of us. These symbols excite free-association and memories.

About Ugo Rondinone

Ugo Rondinone is one of the most trendsetting visual artists around. He represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and has presented major solo exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and Kunsthalle Wien in Austria, besides serving as an exhibition curator at Galerie Presenhuber in Zurich, at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and elsewhere.

Read the full biography
Portret Ugo Rondinone by Christian Grund

View career of Ugo Rondinone


During this exhibition the museum is organizing various activities for visitors young and old, including a Q&A with the artist and lectures for children as well as adults.

13 February
12 PM – 1 PM
Q&A with Ugo Rondinone

On the first day of the exhibition, artist Ugo Rondinone discusses his methodology and philosophy with museum director Sjarel Ex.

13 February
3 PM - 5 PM
Festive opening for children

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is organising a festive opening for children. For his exhibition ‘Vocabulary of Solitude’, artist Ugo Rondinone has asked children to help him by sending in rainbow drawings. The outcome: some 3,000 rainbow drawings are being integrated into a work of art in the exhibition. As a mark of appreciation for their contribution, the museum is organising a special festive opening for children.

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5 March
8 PM - 1 AM
Museum Night010

Dozens of museums and cultural institutions in the city are opening their doors from 20:00 to 01:00, when visitors can go ‘art hopping’ with an all-in pass that costs €17.50 per person. At Boijmans, visitors can step into the world of Ugo Rondinone, a panoply of clownish characters and rainbows. The all-in passes can be purchased via www.museumnacht010.nl.

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6 March and 3 April
1 PM - 2.30 PM
3 PM - 4.30 PM
Boijmans Club: the rainbows of Ugo Rondinone

The Boijmans Club is inviting children to visit the Ugo Rondinone exhibition together with a museum educator. They will pass through the midst of life-size statues of clowns and myriad rainbows. They will then turn their hand to producing rainbow drawings in the museum’s Art Studio for incorporation in the exhibition. There are workshops for children aged from 5 to 9 and for children aged 10 to 14.

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17 April
Children’s college

An interactive lecture specially for children will be held before or after they visit the exhibition. A museum educator will explain everything the children want to know about this artist, and it goes without saying that fathers, mothers and grandparents are welcome too. Feel free to ask questions!

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30 April – 8 May

Kunst4Kids – Art4Kids – returns! From 30 April to 8 May (except Mondays), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is once again organising Kunst4Kids: the special sales exhibition for children. This successful project gives youngsters between 5 and 18 years of age the opportunity to acquire a genuine work of art for € 35,- without their choice being influenced by parents or grandparents. Could this be the start of a career as an art collector?

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Buy your tickets now

Order your ticket online and walk straight through to the exhibition. With this ticket you have access to 'Ugo Rondinone - Vocabulary of Solitude' and the rest of the museum.

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Contemporary Art in Boijmans

The museum’s invitation to Rondinone to stage his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands means he is following in the footsteps of Fischli & Weiss (2003/2004), Urs Fischer (2006), Yayoi Kusama (2008), Pipilotti Rist (2009), Olafur Eliasson (2005, 2010), Carsten Höller (2010), Paul Noble (2014) and many others.

The focus of the many new exhibitions at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in the spring of 2016 is the work of international and Rotterdam-based artists, including Ugo Rondinone, the ‘Project Rotterdam’ group presentation, the eighth edition of the Sensory Spaces series with Mike Nelson, an installation by Diederik Klomberg, a triptych by James Lee Byars, and a presentation by Jan van de Pavert.