Born 1956, Merano, Italy
Lives and works in New York
The idea of painting is central to Rudolf Stingel’s oeuvre, even if his work does not always take the form of a painted canvas. His ruminations on the medium assume a multitude of forms and use a wide variety of materials, often from industrial sources. He references both Modernist monochrome painting and the ‘all over’ compositions of the Abstract Expressionists.
When Rudolf Stingel does actually apply paint to canvas – whether to abstract or figurative ends – he codifies his gestures into a rigorous process. For his earliest ‘abstract’ paintings Rudolf Stingel published a step-by-step manual of Instruction(1989). This artist’s book painstakingly described how to layer red, yellow, or blue oil paint onto canvas, then how to cover the colour field by applying silver spray paint through a layer of tulle in order to produce Rudolf Stingels’ signature look – a ghostly minimalist surface. More recently Rudolf Stingelhas used a silk screening process to make monochromatic painting in either silver, gold or black – that are then covered with a pattern appropriated from archetypal damask wallpaper. In these paintings, Rudolf Stingelconflates two opposing visual traditions: the monochrome and the decorative arts. The background honours the disciplined austerity of Minimalism, while the repeated floral motif – dating to the 16th century – celebrates the luxurious, decadent interiors of European palaces and salons
Text extracted from Alison M Gingeras’ essay on Rudolf Stingel for Sequence 1, Collection François Pinault, Palazzo Grassi, Venice 2007