I wouldn’t know where to say intervention stops and destruction begins.
From his captivatingly realistic oil paintings to his innovative use of Celotex, Styrofoam, carpet, and aluminum, Rudolf Stingel challenges traditional notions of what constitutes a painting. Often dealing with subjects of time, memory, and perception, he embraces industrial materials and ornamental design as vehicles for formal exploration and provoked coincidence, whereby the final state of certain installations is determined by the participation of the viewer.
Born in Merano, Italy, Stingel grew up in the Tyrolean Alps, a mountainous region where Austria, Italy, and Switzerland meet. In 1989, he completed Instructions, a limited-edition manual explaining (in several languages) how to make one of his silver paintings, abstract canvases with undertones of red, yellow, or blue. In his screenprints of these years, Stingel created impressions using folded and creased tulle, then sprayed over the compositions with silver spray paint.
In 1991, Stingel installed a bright orange carpet in Daniel Newberg Gallery, activating the space in an unprecedented way. Confronted with empty white walls, visitors instead could consider the pictorial qualities of the architectural interior. Two years later, at the Biennale di Venezia, Stingel installed a red-orange carpet on the wall, further commenting on the power of display. And in 2004, his site-specific installation Plan B incorporated Stingel’s career-long interest in patterns and repetition, covering the floors of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall in industrially printed pink and blue floral carpet.
The tensions between wall and floor, tactility and illusion run throughout Stingel’s oeuvre. In 1994, he created a series of monochromatic works cast in polyurethane, rubber compound, aluminum, or bronze. Boldly colored, the works are cast from sections of shag carpets, yet they hang on the wall like minimalist paintings. These were followed by the Styrofoam works of the late nineties and early 2000s. Panels of pink, white, blue, or green Styrofoam (often featuring their industrial logos) become platforms for Stingel’s patterns and gestures: from more mechanical grids of circles and ellipses to meandering lines and footprints.
In 2001, for his solo exhibition at the Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Trento, Italy, Stingel lined every available surface of one of the rooms of the museum with metallic Celotex insulation board and visitors drew, wrote, and made imprints on the surface of the reflective silver paneling. Eschewing the preciousness of the artist’s unique mark in favor of the collective gestures of thousands of viewers, Stingel repeated this participatory installation at the 50th Biennale di Venezia (2003); Palazzo Grassi, Venice, (2006); and at his retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2007), which traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, later that year.
Since 2005 Stingel has been painting photorealistic portraits of himself and others, as well as captivating views of mountains and sunsets. His first series of photorealistic self-portraits, Untitled (After Sam) (2005–06), was painted after black-and-white photographs of Stingel taken by American photographer Sam Samore. These were followed by paintings based on photographs of Stingel as a young man, both in black-and-white and in color, each painting capturing details such as the scratches and creases of the original printed photographs. These works enter into dialogue with Stingel’s metallic paintings based on carpet patterns, Damask wallpaper, chain link fences, and more.
Stingel’s site-specific exhibitions have become increasingly immersive, as he transforms galleries and museums into total works of art. His exhibition Live at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2010) included a wall-to-wall black-and-white carpet printed with an image of an Agra rug, a huge crystal chandelier, and hyperrealistic paintings of the Alps; and at Palazzo Grassi in 2013, he covered the floors and walls with a carpet printed with the pattern of an older Oriental rug, and hung both abstract and photorealistic paintings over it, creating a subdued, all-encompassing environment for his work.
In 2015 Stingel embarked on a series of eight consecutive installations at Gagosian’s Park & 75 gallery in New York, conceived as a single monumental exhibition. In Part I (2015) Stingel presented large oil paintings with multicolored impressions of a Chintamani carpet and a small portrait on paper of a youthful Franz West; Part II (2016) included gold paintings with a chain-link pattern, a small grisaille portrait of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and white wall-to-wall carpeting; in Part III (2016) featured large photorealist canvases layered with colorful carpet patterns; Part IV (2016) was a single silver monochrome triptych derived from images of Plan B at Grand Central; Part V (2016) paired a small photorealist portrait with ornate gold paintings; Part VI (2016) consisted of gleaming silver panels cast from sections of inscribed Celotex from previous installations; and both Part VII (2016) and Part VIII (2016–17) presented paintings based on a mural by Ludwig Bemelmans in New York’s Carlyle Hotel.
In 2017, for a private presentation at Casa Malaparte in Capri, Stingel showed multicolored, metallic canvases reminiscent of his early silver paintings—as if the earlier canvases were reflecting some of the spectral color of his more recent sunset works. Stingel’s series continue to build upon and depart from one another, expanding definitions of art and authorship along the way.
Extended through January 12, 2017
December 7, 2016–January 12, 2017
Park & 75, New York
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
In July 2017, a special installation of paintings was shown at Casa Malaparte, Capri, the famous house built by the author, publisher, diplomat, and filmmaker Curzio Malaparte.
Visions of the Self
Rembrandt and Now
Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 6:30–8:30pm
Kenwood House, London
In the interest of public health, this event has been postponed until further notice.
Gagosian is pleased to host a drinks reception to celebrate the release of Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now, published on the occasion of the recent eponymous exhibition at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London. Organized in partnership with English Heritage, the exhibition places Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c. 1665) in dialogue with self-portraits by Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucian Freud, and Pablo Picasso, as well as leading contemporary artists such as Georg Baselitz, Glenn Brown, Urs Fischer, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Giuseppe Penone, Richard Prince, Jenny Saville, Cindy Sherman, and Rudolf Stingel, among others. The catalogue includes an introduction by Wendy Monkhouse, senior curator at English Heritage, and a text by art historian David Freedberg. To attend the free event, RSVP to email@example.com. Space is limited.
Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now (London: Gagosian, 2020)
Art Basel Miami Beach 2019
December 5–8, 2019, booth D7
Miami Beach Convention Center
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 with modern and contemporary artworks by Richard Avedon, Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joe Bradley, Cecily Brown, John Chamberlain, John Currin, Edmund de Waal, Rachel Feinstein, Urs Fischer, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellen Gallagher, Theaster Gates, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jennifer Guidi, Simon Hantaï, Damien Hirst, Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis, Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Peter Marino, Adam McEwen, Joan Mitchell, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Steven Parrino, Pablo Picasso, Rudolf Polanszky, Richard Prince, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Rudolf Stingel, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Mary Weatherford, Tom Wesselmann, Jonas Wood, Christopher Wool, and Zao Wou-Ki, among others.
Tom Wesselmann, Sunset Nude with Wesselmann Still Life, 2004 © The Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by ARS/VAGA, New York
Rudolf Stingel was honored at the 2019 Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art Benefit and Auction on Sunday, November 10, in New York, for his contribution to the arts. The event helps the Swiss Institute to fund forward-thinking and experimental art making through innovative exhibitions, education, and programs. Stingel has also donated a work to the auction.
Rudolf Stingel in front of his painting Untitled (2010) at the Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, 2019. Artwork © Rudolf Stingel. Photo: Matthias Willi
Luogo e segni
March 24–December 15, 2019
Punta della Dogana, Venice
Luogo e segni, which translates to Place and Signs, takes its title from a painting by Carol Rama that is included in the exhibition. The show brings together more than one hundred works by thirty artists that establish a particular relationship with their respective urban, social, political, historical, and intellectual settings. Work by Rudolf Stingel and Tatiana Trouvé is included.
Tatiana Trouvé, The Guardian, 2018, Pinault Collection © Tatiana Trouvé. Photo: Florian Kleinefenn
May 26–October 6, 2019
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel
Since the late 1980s, Rudolf Stingel has approached painting in a conceptual and self-reflective way, exploring its possibilities and media-specific boundaries in the interplay of artistic approaches, materials, and forms. The accidental traces of time emerge in his works, as do conscious references to his own production process. This is the first museum exhibition in Europe to present Stingel’s important series of works from all periods of his career. New works were created for the exhibition.
Installation view, Rudolf Stingel, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, May 26–October 6, 2019 © Rudolf Stingel. Photo: Stefan Altenburger
Dancing with Myself
April 8–December 16, 2018
Punta della Dogana, Venice
Dancing with Myself explores the importance of the artist’s role as an actor in and subject of his own creations, from the 1970s to today. The exhibition brings together a great range of artistic practices, languages, cultures, geographic origins, generations, and experiences, establishing a tension between different artistic approaches. Work by Urs Fischer, Cindy Sherman, and Rudolf Stingel is included.
Rudolf Stingel, Untitled (Alpino, 1976), 2006, Pinault Collection © Rudolf Stingel. Photo by Stefan Altenburger
We Are Here
August 19, 2017–April 1, 2018
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
In honor of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s fiftieth anniversary, the museum presents We Are Here, a three-part exhibition drawn from its collection. I Am You gathers works that question how we relate to and shape our environments; You Are Here examines how the role of the viewer has changed over time; and We Are Everywhere showcases artists who borrow from popular culture. Work by Richard Artschwager, Francis Bacon, Chris Burden, Ellen Gallagher, Andreas Gursky, Michael Heizer, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Rudolf Stingel, Andy Warhol, and Franz West is included.
Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986 © Jeff Koons.
Photo by Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago