Iconic new public artwork by international artist Ugo Rondinone unveiled at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool to mark cultural anniversaries

Ugo Rondinone, Liverpool Mountain, 2018 Installation view at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool Photography: Rob Battersby

Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool today unveiled a major new public artwork by internationally acclaimed artist Ugo Rondinone – his first work in the UK. The sculpture, called Liverpool Mountain, stands over ten metres tall, next to Tate Liverpool in Royal Albert Dock Liverpool.

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 is similar to the technicolour towers he has created in Miami and Las Vegas which are designed to elevate their surroundings.

Liverpool Mountain is Rondinone’s first public artwork in the UK. Rising ten metres, the sculpture consists 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, the sculpture seems to defy gravity in its teetering formation, poised between the natural, the artificial and the manmade.

The sculpture transforms the Mermaid Courtyard area, next to Tate Liverpool at the historic Dock, a previously under-used space on the World Heritage site. The artwork builds on the Dock’s position as a world-class leisure destination with culture at its heart.

Ugo Rondinone, Liverpool Mountain, 2018 Installation view at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool Photography: Mark McNulty

Liverpool Mountain 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 callsMoonrise 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. 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 created this major new work. 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.”

Kasia Redzisz, senior curator, Tate Liverpool, said:

“2018 marks 30 years since Tate Liverpool opened and we’re proud to say we’ve welcomed more than 18 million visitors over the last three decades. We play a critical role in the city by bringing outstanding international and British art and artists to the region and we’re delighted to have worked together with Liverpool Biennial, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool and the city to bring this incredible sculpture to Liverpool.”

David Roscoe, chairman of Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, said:

“Ugo Rondinone’s striking and inspiring work is an exciting new landmark for Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, playing a key role in our plans for the Dock’s future as we build up to the 175th anniversary in 2021, and ensuring the Dock remains relevant in the ever-changing landscape of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Waterfront and the wider city region. We’re thrilled to partner with Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool to bring this Liverpool 2018 project to the Dock, and to be its guardian long after the big reveal as its legacy lives on.

Artist Ugo Rondinone with Liverpool Mountain. Photo Mark McNulty