The exhibition will include new works on paper created using Rudolf Stingel’s technique of applying oil paint and/or enamel onto canvas or paper through a tulle screen. Stingel has been using variations of this technique to create monochrome or patterned paintings since the late 1980s. In 1989, he published Instructions, an illustrated “do-it-yourself” guide with step-by-step guidelines to create his abstract paintings. In so doing, and in suggesting that everyone could produce a work of abstraction by following a simple set of instructions, Stingel was debunking the transcendental and metaphysical loftiness sometimes associated with abstract art.
The works on paper in the exhibition present a rectangular swath of paint with a brocade pattern in white and silver tones. The pattern is obtained from a silk-screened tapestry motif transferred onto tulle fabric. The resulting shimmering, at times ethereal imprints of paint onto paper (which have been described as “Baroque-yet-21st-century”) are visually captivating while perfectly straightforward in their appropriation of the decorative element. Also on view are works on paper from the late eighties consisting of illustrations from the Instructions booklet partially covered with sections of oil paint created by following the same guidelines.
Stingel’s work has been straddling the poles of conceptual deadpan-ness and aesthetic gratification for more than two decades. Although he considers himself a painter, his work often takes the form of all-over interventions in architectural space, broadening and destabilizing the definition of traditional painting. In 2004, he famously covered the entire floor of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall with an industrially-printed pink and blue floral carpet, thus not only providing visitors with a kaleidoscopic visual environment, but also injecting a calculated dose of kitsch into this grand, Beaux-Arts structure. In a kind of reverse move, Stingel followed this exhibition with a show at Paula Cooper Gallery (2005), in which he covered the entire gallery space with white wood flooring, transforming the “white cube” into a pristine, disorienting shrine over which loomed one large photorealist portrait.
Stingel’s work has been exhibited in prominent exhibitions both nationally and internationally. It was the subject, most recently, of “Rudolf Stingel: Paintings 1987-2007,” a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Previous museum shows have included one-person exhibitions at the Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Trento, Italy (2001) and the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2004). Rudolf Stingel has also participated in the 1999 and 2003 Venice Biennales and in exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö, Sweden; and the Palazzo Grassi, Venice. He was born in 1956 in Merano, Italy and lives and works in New York City and Italy.