Ugo Rondinone’s Clowns in Boijmans attract 81.000 Visitors

‘Ugo Rondinone – Vocabulary of Solitude’, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography.

Press release

Ugo Rondinone’s Clowns in Boijmans attract 81.000 Visitors
30 May 2016

On 29 May Ugo Rondinone’s first solo exhibition ‘Vocabulary of Solitude’ came to a successful close. 81,000 visitors came to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, and the exhibition was a huge hit on social media.

Artist Ugo Rondinone (Brunnen 1964), internationally celebrated and until now collected only by a few private individuals in the Netherlands, demonstrated the beauty of solitude in his meditative show. Forty-five life-size sculptures of clowns form the centrepiece. Together they act out a twenty-four-hour day in the life of an individual.

Steering a middle course between the clown’s appeal and the common fear of clowns, Rondinone’s colourful installation managed to entice many museum visitors, including children 15.000 to an enounter and interaction. More than 3,500 children responded to the artist’s call to send in drawings of rainbows. Selfies taken with the clowns proved incredibly popular: many hundreds of them appeared on social media. The children’s drawings will travel to the exhibition’s next venue in the MACRO museum in Rome and will be on display there from 10 June to 11 September 2016. The exhibition will then go on to a number of locations in the United States.

Ugo Rondinone’s rainbow poem on the roof of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen ‘BREATHE WALK DIE’ (2014), which has been part of Rotterdam ‘s skyline since the beginning of February, will stay for the next five years. The work is one of a series of rainbow sculptures for open spaces, which began with ‘cry me a river’ (1997). The museum is currently raising funds to make the purchase possible this year.

Podium for Contemporary Art
True to tradition, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen provides a podium for trend-setting, international contemporary artists. These exhibitions are relatively rare in the Netherlands. A result like this, with 81,000 visitors and a great deal of attention from the international media, is fantastic. This summer, too, Boijmans is showcasing an inspiring programme of contemporary art. On 18 June the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (Copenhagen 1967) will be taking over the 1,500m2 Bodon Gallery for the third time with his monumental installation Notion Motion. Inspired by the laws of nature, and in particular by the reflection of light on water, he created Notion Motion especially for Boijmans.

Also running this summer

Project Rotterdam III: 18 June – 7 August 2016
Sensory Spaces 9 Beni Bischof: 18 June – 2 October 2016
James Lee Byars III: 18 June – 25 September 2016


‘Ugo Rondinone: Vocabulary of Solitude’ is made possible by the generous support of:


The exhibition was created in collaboration with Studio Rondinone, New York; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich; Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London.