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Private Collection, Los Angeles
Private Collection, Europe
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Rudolf Stingel has spent the past three decades exploring the boundaries of painting, pattern and design through his experimentation with surface and materiality. Rendered in opulent gold, Untitled from 2014 presents a stenciled oriental carpet pattern, which floats upon the canvas creating both an intangible and tactile experience. The woven carpet depicted alludes to the richness of both an oriental and European baroque style, while simultaneously serving as an investigation into the heart of his artistic process. Stingel utilizes industrial means of production to create wonderfully repetitive patterns, which serve to foster a disembodied aesthetic meditation, in which the viewer is invited to contemplate each trace of gold paint as a part of an emerging whole.
Stingel’s fascination with the decorative originates from his upbringing in Italy and Vienna, where he was exposed to Baroque and Rococo styles. Assembling patterns from these decorative prototypes, Stingel creates large-scale “paintings,” which immerse the viewer in repetitive symmetrical patterns as would wallpaper or carpets; yet upon close inspection, each surface is exceptionally distinctive with graduated tones, washes of shade, and unpredictable splashes of texture. Lingering between a floor carpet and a wall tapestry, Untitled touches upon a theme Stingel has been exploring since the early 1990s when he created an installation of carpets that lined the walls and floors.
Since at least as early as 2004, Stingel has been working with gold color pigments in his work. A contemporary alchemist, he is often using one thing to create a convincing allusion to something else. In Untitled he turns a carpet into a shimmering object of pure golden desire. This form of transubstantiation has long been an important aspect of Stingel’s work—he turned Styrofoam panels into suggestions of snow, aluminum paint to suggest paintings of pure silver and cast polycarbonate to create metal radiators. We’re in on the trick, but we fall for the paintings all the same, because they are as beautiful as they are thoughtful.
By visually blurring the logic of spatial recognition and visual orientation, Stingel began to explore the relationship between painting and space utilizing patterns that strategically possess overlapping historical references. Untitled lies at the intersection of lavishness and starkness, exploring what it means to make a painting in the margins between linear design and painterly gesture. As critic Roberta Smith has aptly noted, Stingel "combines a love of painting with the postmodern suspicion of it, and often achieves a near-perfect balance between the visual and the conceptual."(Roberta Smith, "DIY Art: Walk on It, Write on It, Stroke It," The New York Times, June 29, 2007)
Italian • 1956
New York-based Italian artist Rudolf Stingel was first recognized in the late 1980s for his singular conceptual approach to painting. He constantly questions the function, utility and limits of the medium through hyper-detailed stencil work and by way of a lavish bourgeois aesthetic thrown onto bordered surfaces. Borrowing from the Baroque, Stingel sets up a visual landscape from which the viewer expects excess, but that quickly destabilizes the field of vision by creating a perfectly contained work of traditional beauty.
In effort to push the effect of painting to its limits, Stingel notoriously challenges
questions of authorship by using various materials, including carpet, styrofoam and silver sheets, to recontextualize surface, depth and color.
New York Auction 18 May 2017