Seven Magic Mountains
By Lauren Wong
Nestled in the desert along Interstate 15 just outside of Las Vegas are seven massive dayglow totems. Encompassed by the dull, arid landscape of the Nevada desert stand these vibrantly painted, multi-colored rocks. Standing 30 – 35 feet tall, the stacked boulders are all locally sourced.
The Art Production Fund, New York and Nevada Museum of Art, Reno produced the Seven Magic Mountains. The artist behind the exhibition, Ugo Rondinone, claims the art installation and its location between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, is symbolic in that it lies in that middle ground between the natural and the artificial.
The natural aspect is conveyed by the surrounding landscape; the mountain ranges, desert, and Jean Dry Lake. On the other hand, you have the artificial side of it, the constant traffic on the highway between these two major cities.
The project went underway in December of 2015. The first step was cutting. Nearby boulders were cut into smaller pieces, then cored, colored, and finally stacked into totems.
Born in Brunnen, Switzerland in 1964, Rondinone currently resides in New York. He’s known for his growing portfolio of work that covers all forms and media over an ample emotional range.
There’s more depth to his work than just that pretty end piece you see. With both psychological expressiveness and insight into the human condition, he’s crafted profound pieces that hone in on the relationship between the human and nature.
I visited the Seven Magic Mountains during golden hour and the way the natural light brought out every color was absolutely stunning. Knowing the meaning behind these stacked rocks just makes it all the more magical. It’s truly a unique sight to see.