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  • Provenance

    Massimo De Carlo, Milan

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Stingel’s paintings constantly negotiate a truce between kairos and kronos.” FRANCESCO BONAMI

    “Rudolf Stingel’s work is a new approach, a new attempt to open up this closure and fill the gap between abstraction and figuration. At once performances and gestures, Stingel’s paintings constantly negotiate a truce between kairos and kronos. His abstraction and portraits look into each other, forward and backward, to fill the void left by Richter’s abstraction and figuration. Stingel creates a transitive way to recede from the abstraction into the subject and to push the subject into a different kind of time. ”
    (F. Bonami, ‘Paintings of Paintings for Paintings, The Kairology and Kronology of Rudolf Stingel’ in Rudolf Stingel, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2007, p. 14)

    Captivating in its opulence, Untitled (2004) juxtaposes modernist formal traditions with a focus on light, texture and composition with the innate ornamentation of Baroque and Bavarian Rococo decadence. Following a meticulous creative process, Stingel designs his series of wallpaper paintings by applying gold enamel through a layer of patterned tulle appropriated from original damask wallpaper. Once removed, the tulle leaves behind an arbitrary impression on the canvas, exposing the artist’s hand and preserving his autonomy. Whilst repetitive, geometric
    patterns refer to the austere seriality of Minimalism, the intricate texture and varying gold tones create a scintillating surface to provide a contemporary dynamic to a classic motif.

    Focusing on the imprint of the artist’s technique, this work recalls Fontana’s slashed canvases of his Concetto spaziale series of the late 1950s and 60s. Slashing his monochromatic canvases, Fontana attacks the painterly representation and, like Stingel, uses texture and light to create an illusion of depth and explore the concept of positive and negative space.

    In 2004, Stingel collaborated with Felix Gonzalez-Torres to create a powerful installation which displaced formal painterly traditions with architecture to distort perception and encourage an institutional critique. Adhering to lavish Baroque and Rococo interiors, the present lot similarly redefines painting in the context of architectural design and composition to create a work that resists the restraints of the canvas and challenges the boundaries that dictate the ritualistic relationship between art and space.

  • Artist Bio

    Rudolf Stingel

    Italian • 1956

    Rudolf Stingel came to prominence in the late 1980s for his insistence on the conceptual act of painting in a context in which it had been famously declared dead. Despite the prevailing minimalist and conceptual narrative of the time, the Italian-born artist sought to confront the fundamental aspirations and failures of Modernist painting through the very medium of painting itself. While his works do not always conform to the traditional definitions of painting, their attention to surface, space, color and image provide new and expanded ways of thinking about the process and "idea" of painting. Central to his multifarious and prolific oeuvre is an examination of the passage of time and the probing of the fundamental questions of authenticity, meaning, hierarchy, authorship and context by dislocating painting both internally and in time and space. Stingel is best known for his wall-to-wall installations, constructed of fabric or malleable Celotex sheets, as well as his seemingly more traditional oil-on-canvas paintings.

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oil and enamel on canvas
99.1 x 99.1 cm (39 x 39 in)
Signed and dated 'Stingel 2004' on the reverse.

£200,000 - 300,000 ‡ ♠

sold for £385,250

Contemporary Art Evening

28 June 2012