Rudolf Stingel (Italian, born 1956) Untitled 1988

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Lot 7* AR ○
Rudolf Stingel
(Italian, born 1956)
Untitled
1988

Sold for £ 461,000 (US$ 564,941) inc. premium
Rudolf Stingel (Italian, born 1956)
Untitled
1988

oil and enamel on canvas

138 by 98 cm.
45 3/8 by 38 5/8 in.

This work was executed in 1988.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Galleria Massimo de Carlo, Milan
    Private Collection, Europe
    Sale: Sotheby's, London, Contemporary Art Day Auction, 27 June 2013, Lot 311
    Galeria Elvira Gonzalez, Madrid
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner



    Perhaps as a result of his legendary virtuosity and uncommon technical skill, Rudolf Stingel has, throughout his career, demonstrated remarkable sang-froid when confronted by the sheer weight of art history: "All possible pictures have already been made. The only useful thing left to do, I believe, is to confront yourself with the picture, pushing it almost to the edge of a pit of failure and destruction" (the artist in: Francesco Bonami, 'Rudolf Stingel', www.vogue.it, 27 May 2013). His ambition to push himself and his art to the very limits is perfectly embodied in Untitled (1988), a work which belongs to the important series of Silver Paintings executed between 1987 and 1994 which first brought Stingel to public attention. The surface of this painting, an early and powerful example from this series, is pink and glistening, seemingly almost translucent, shimmering in the light, reflective and ever changing. It may be painted on canvas, but this work is far from traditional. Rather it is provocative and challenging, Stingel is attempting here to demystify the artistic process, whilst proposing larger questions around the role of the artist in general.

    The techniques used to produce this visually stunning work are simple and yet ingenious. The canvas is first coated with a single colour (in this case a rich reddish pink); next a piece of lacy gauze fabric is placed over the top, and a film of silvery paint is sprayed across the surface. Once the fabric is removed the end result is revealed, this strangely lyrical web of colour and line, a delicate mesh of pattern. The intricacies of this process are well known, as Stingel himself published illustrated instructions in how to create your own similar work in 1989 at the Venice Biennale. In this way, like a stage magician revealing his secrets, he has effectively democratised the creative process, and redefined the role of the artist. Follow the instructions, and what you have at the end is open to question, however; is it your own work, or have you simply created another 'Rudolf Stingel'? The present work can be interpreted on both an aesthetic and a conceptual level, a combination which is now seen as typical of Stingel's work.

    As witnessed in recent solo shows at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, the Vienna Secession, Vienna and Palazzo Grassi, Venice the artist's paintings and installation often invite audience participation; his enormous wall of bright orange carpet which can be stroked, rubbed and drawn into by the public is currently one of Tate Modern's most popular exhibits. Uncompromising and yet approachable, Stingel's art, it seems, can enchant just as much as it can challenge.
Contacts
Rudolf Stingel (Italian, born 1956) Untitled 1988
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