Rudolf Stingel - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Tuesday, February 9, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Massimo De Carlo, Milan

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rudolf Stingel’s inquiry into the practice of painting takes a radical stance, opposing Austrian architect Adolf Loos, who declared that 'decoration was a crime.' Stingel’s work provocatively asserts that the essence all painting permits itself to be categorised as mere decoration, a view embodied in the artist’s most famous series of works, the wallpaper paintings. Stingel creates paintings mimicking wallpaper, to be placed on wallpaper covered walls. This self-referential act, coupled with the regular addition of decadent gold enamel, allows his work to become unashamedly decorative, a luxury object, and one that works to negate the visibility of the artist’s hand while maintaining a distinctly human fragility. To achieve his hands-off result Stingel employs a rough yet sophisticated stencil technique that encourages overall precision, while leaving room for a sense of painterly accident. The balance of this working method, particularly in this small scale painting, creates a result that is at once mechanical and emotional. In Stingel’s work, wallpaper serves as a form of decadence in a world dominated by functionality and minimalism. His paintings conspire against these dictats, challenging the purity and the neutrality of the contemporary 'white cube' ideal. In his practice, Stingel reintroduces indulgence to the act of painting, and rejects the hypocrisy of Loos’s damning statement. Stingel affirms that far from being a crime, decoration may serve to remind us both of human beauty and imperfection.

    - Francesco Bonami, 2016

  • 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 and enamel on linen
70 x 60 cm (27 1/2 x 23 5/8 in.)

£250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for £386,500

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 10 February 2016 2pm