Rudolf Stingel - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Paula Cooper Gallery, New York; Private collection, Chicago; Sale: Christie’s, London, Postwar and Contemporary Art Evening Auction, June 30, 2009, lot 36; Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Paula Cooper Gallery, Rudolf Stingel New Styrofoam Works, April 22 – June 9, 2000;
    Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art and New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Rudolf Stingel, January 27 – October 14, 2007 (illustrated in color, pp. 135 and 140-141)

  • Literature

    F. Bonami, ed., Rudolf Stingel, Chicago, 2007, pp. 140-141 (illustrated in color) and p. 135 (installation view at Paula Cooper Gallery)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Stingel’s interest in the seductiveness of materials is further underlined in a group of paintings in which footprints are pressed into an area of thick Styrofoam hung on the wall, forming tracks across the surface as though mocking the gesture of the painter’s hand. Unlike the performative works of Yves Klein, in which the imprint of the body appears on the canvas as a painterly trace, the weight of the feet sunk into the light, delicate surface of the white Styrofoam confirms both material and action as belonging to the real world. Instead of beholding an image, the viewer imagines pleasurably participating in its making, rendering the painting’s surface literal, rather than abstract, a horizontal material over which bodies have walked, in an act of carefully controlled destruction. …

    In Stingel’s Styrofoam paintings, it is action that registers first with the viewer. While oriented toward the viewer’s vertical presence in its hanging, the plane of the ‘canvas’ is definitively horizontal. Robert Rauschenberg made a similarly dramatic statement about painting in his horizontal floor work Mud-Muse, 1971, in which an expanse of mud sat inside a large container on the floor of the gallery, bubbling whenever viewers made a noise. Like Stingel’s Styrofoam, Rauschenberg’s drilling mud is an industrial material, alluding to painting while asserting its own, quotidian presence as not-painting.”

    (C. Iles, “Surface Tension,” Rudolf Stingel, Chicago, 2007, pp. 24-25)

  • Artist Biography

    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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Styrofoam in four parts.
95 3/4 x 191 x 4 in. (243.2 x 485.1 x 10.2 cm.)

$500,000 - 700,000 

Contemporary Art Part I

12 May 2011
New York