Rudolf Stingel - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    "Stingel’s absorption of the vocabulary of baroque arguably articulates baroque’s tendency toward instability. Quoting Heinrich Wolfflin’s observation that all the most prominent Baroque artists suffered from headaches [and] there were also cases of melancholia, Anthony Vidler cites Jacques Lacan’s definition of the baroque as the regulation of the soul by the scopic regulation of the body. Stingel’s elaborately carved black lacquered works clearly have more in common with his melancholic self-portraits than might be immediately evident. As contemplations on the problems of the modern, they echo Friedrich Nietzsche’s understanding of baroque as intrinsically decadent; it appears whenever a great age of art enters a decline…[its appearance is to be] greeted with great sadness—because it heralds nightfall.
    Nietzsche’s pronouncement seems unduly pessimistic; yet the contemporary art world, and the world at large, are in a period of profound transition, in which the future seems far from certain. Perhaps the most important lesson of Stingel’s complex work is the demonstration of painting’s continued power to articulate the trauma of modernity, through its perpetually evolving relationship to three-dimensional space. This knowledge only serves to confirm Yve-Alain Bois’ observation that the pictorial field is an antagonistic field where nothing is ever decided once and for all," (C. Iles, “SurfaceTension,” Rudolf Stingel, New Haven, 2007, p. 29).

  • 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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Oil on canvas.
30 x 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm).

$150,000 - 200,000 

Contemporary Art Part I

14 May 2009, 7pm
New York