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  • Provenance

    Massimo De Carlo, Milan
    Phillips, London, Contemporary Art Day Sale, 15 February 2013, lot 115
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I wouldn’t know where to say intervention stops and destruction begins.” Rudolf Stingel

    Thick viscous matter appears to bubble and congeal like lava erupting to the surface of Untitled (2004). The heavily encrusted quality of Rudolf Stingel’s polystyrene, oil and varnish work presented here is an emphatic illustration of the artist’s fascination with texture, gesture, abstraction and the role of the artist himself. Since the 1980s, Stingel has explored these aspects in a journey which has questioned the modes of painting and the engagement of the viewer. In this sense, he has examined preconceived notions of hierarchy within the process of creating. Often incorporating unlikely materials, Stingel’s works have broadly ranged from detailed self-portraits to techniques that offer minimal artistic control thus maximising spontaneity and unpredictability. This visually eclectic canon of work is perhaps best summarised by the curator Francesco Bonami, who observes: “the mere act of painting does not create a painting but simply some painting. But if the action of painting is used as a lens to observe reality to create another reality, then we have a painting…Stingel creates a transitive way to recede from abstraction into the subject and to push the subject into a different kind of time.” (Francesco Bonami, ed., Paintings of Paintings for Paintings, The Kairology and Kronology of Rudolf Stingel, Rudolf Stingel, London, 2007, pp. 13-14).

  • 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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4

Untitled

2004
polystyrene, oil and varnish on canvas
50.5 x 50.5 cm (19 7/8 x 19 7/8 in.)
Signed and dated 'Stingel 04' on the reverse.

Estimate
£60,000 - 80,000 ♠ †

Sold for £62,500

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Head of Sale
+44 207 318 4065

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