Rudolf Stingel - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Tuesday, May 10, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Massimo De Carlo, Milan

  • Exhibited

    New York, Paula Cooper Gallery, Rudolf Stingel, October - November 1994 (another example exhibited)
    Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rudolf Stingel, January 27 - May 27, 2007 (another example exhibited)
    New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Rudolf Stingel, June 28 - October 14, 2007 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    Bernhard Mendes Bürgi, ed. Rudolf Stingel, exh. cat., Kunstalle Zurich, 1995, pp. 13, 15 (another example illustrated)
    Francesco Bonami, RUDOLF STINGEL, New Haven, 2007, p. 3, 37, 69, 71, 79, 99, 117, 133, 157, 181, 201, 237 (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Zen is about acceptance, right?” Mr. Stingel said. “So that’s the way it is. I do sit and look at him sometimes — we have a meaningful relationship. You can’t get over it. You just live with it.” - Rudolph Stingel

    Rudolf Stingel’s affinity for the decorative is a consistent theme throughout the artist’s multi-faceted oeuvre of painting, drawing and sculpture. Stingel’s Buddha sculptures, composed of cast rubber, fit this decorative mold, lacking the overt spirituality of other representations of the Asian deity. In an interview from 2007 regarding his Buddha statues, he says “I don’t think it has anything to do with religion. It’s pure decoration. It’s a taste, a lifestyle” (Rudolf Stingel quoted in David Coleman, "Not a Believer but Just in Case Om", in The New York Times, July 2007). Thus, Stingel’s twenty-four uniquely colored variants of which the present lot belongs exist as ironic symbols of the modernity of spirituality in a world of mass-produced decoration.

    In Untitled, 1994, the meditative Buddha depicted is the six-armed Hindu deity Vishnu who holds tools from the artist’s 1998 Untitled (Instructions), a how-to manual in which he explains the process used to create one of his early abstract paintings. The deity holds these objects as if ready to use the pair of electric hand mixers, scissors, a tube of paint, and a series of brushes. These objects are the same bright color of the Buddha himself, sculpted in a smooth and simple finish. With eyes closed, Stingel portrays the meditation central to the Buddhist religion and in turn, calls attention to his own painting practice as being meditative in itself. Therefore, in typical Stingel fashion, the resulting sculpture derives its imagery equally from the past and present, referencing the ancient religion from which it is derived while simultaneously looking to modern art practices in self-referential testimony.

  • 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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Property of an Important European Collector



cast urethane rubber
18 1/2 x 20 1/8 x 9 in. (47 x 51 x 22.9 cm)
Signed and dated "Stingel 94" on the underside. This work is from a series of 24 uniquely colored variants.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $131,000

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 10 May 2016