Rudolf Stingel - Contemporary Art London Friday, October 13, 2006 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the present lot, the large scale and surface of Rudolf Stingel’s composition endows it with an impressive aesthetic. Stingel works with extruded polystyrene foam, an elaborate process that requires melting down solid polystyrene crystals with additives and blowing agents. The mixture, once combined under controlled conditions of high temperature and pressure, is forced through the extruder as hot liquid that, once emerges expands to foam. Stingel is able to manipulate his medium to evoke a creamy luminosity and smooth, continuous texture—it is hard for the viewer to imagine the mechanical process through which the work was created. Were it not for the graffito imprints left behind from the fabrication process, the work appears to transcend the mundane.

    “With their cleanly finished edges, multiple and identical constituency parts, and austerity of material, the works play with the formal devices of Minimalism. But, through their trampled surfaces, they dispel any intimation of participating in that movement’s claims for a quasi-metaphysical purity or transcendency. Indeed, the scale and rectangular shape of the panels… suggest an artistic style antithetical to Minimalism—the contained spontaneity of Pollock’s dripped and poured paintings… So Stingel’s work traffics in the stylistic markers of Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism. But he reduces those markers to features of ordinary experience and leaves the animating theoretical and expressive impulses of both movements behind.” (J. Gilmore, Art in America, October, 2000)

    In the fashion of popularizing the process of making art and bringing it out to the public, Stingel produced a manual in 1989 with a formula on how to make abstract paintings. Then, for the next decade, the artist adhered to his own words, constructing conceptual paintings and site-specific installations. Stingel works with ordinary, ubiquitous materials - wallpaper, Styrofoam, and carpets as an artistic quotation to the arte povera legacy. He seeks to demystify the figure of the artist and the artistic process, by challenging the viewer to reconsider their preconceived notions about what constitutes a legitimate surface of art.

  • 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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Extruded polystyrene insulation in four parts.
Overall 96 x 96 in. (243.8 x 243.8 cm).

£50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for £120,000

Contemporary Art

14 Oct 2006, 7pm