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Seven Magic Mountains (2016) by Ugo Rondinone, photo Martine van Kampen / Land Art Flevoland
16 May 2024 

Travelogue: Seven Magic Mountains

Martine and Anne visit Seven Magic Mountains (2016) by Ugo Rondinone in Las Vegas, Nevada. From Martine's notes:

Ugo Rondinone, Seven Magic Mountains

People's habit of placing rocks upright or stacking them on top of each other is ancient and widespread - from menhirs to the stone piles that form small altars in cemeteries. Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone placed a series of huge boulders on top of each other for his artwork Seven Magic Mountains, which can be visited just south of Las Vegas. It was commissioned in 2016 by the Art Production Fund and the Nevada Museum.

No impact piece

The work is hugely well attended, and even when we are there, new visitors are constantly coming, constantly taking selfies. Not surprisingly, it is enormously photogenic. With its bright neon colors, it matches Las Vegas and the artificiality of that context - but also the vast, sandy and rocky vistas behind it. It seems like a work that is a bit of an effect piece, but in that we underestimated it, because it is plainly beautiful to behold and layered enough to contemplate.

Mother Nature

That pondering even continued for a while when we visited nearby Bryce Canyon the next day and realized that the stacked forms of Rondinone can be recognized here as well. Mother Nature was thus ahead of man, many millions of years.

Bryce Canyon, photo Martine van Kampen / Land Art Flevoland
Seven Magic Mountains (2016) by Ugo Rondinone, photo Martine van Kampen / Land Art Flevoland
Seven Magic Mountains (2016) by Ugo Rondinone, photo Anne Reenders / Kunstmuseum M.