Rudolf Stingel - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Massimo de Carlo, Milan

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I wanted to be against a certain way of painting… Artists have always been accused of being decorative. I just went to the extreme.”

    Rudolf Stingel usually employs a palette of ubiquitous materials–wallpaper, Styrofoam, carpets, and rubber− amongst others− in a nod towards the legacy of arte povera,
    seeking to demystify the figure of the artist and the artistic process. In Untitled, 2009, a series of repeated and interlacing units initially appear to be fluid elements forming a homogeneous monochromatic black whole. Upon closer inspection, the idiosyncrasies come to light--signs of corruption in the production process, traces of organic human input render his patterned surface into a composition of unique or fragmented and blurred parts. Here, hybridity becomes subject matter. Representation, abstraction, process, pattern, performance and subjectivity are all present in Stingel’s work.

    Stingel has persistently pushed the limits of painting throughout his career. His paintings, like those of many of his contemporaries, explore the traditions of abstraction and figuration. Stingel’s upbringing in the Italian Tyrol and Vienna exposed him to the unusual aesthetic amalgamation of rococo and baroque. This, alongside his education at a Tyrolean school renowned for its training in baroque decorative wood carving, has undoubtedly had a profound effect on his work. Hence, one can perceive an elaborate ornamentation in the decorative patterning of the wallpaper, yet when viewed in more detail the surface reveals itself to be unpredictable and uncertain. The variations of monochromatic black paint tones conflict with each other, forcing the viewer to justify reality and perception.

    The resulting work, Untitled, 2009, is as much a refection of both the artistic input as the viewer’s perception. The legacy of Stingel in the history of art will be defined by this interface of production and perception. The present lot expresses a crowning achievement of the artist’s intent, and captivates the viewer in an equally euphoric experience.

  • 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
82 5/8 x 66 7/8 in. (210 x 170 cm.)
Signed and dated "Stingel 2009" on the reverse.

$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $665,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Sale
[email protected]
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York 16 May 2013 7pm