Over the course of his career, Rudolf Stingel has explored the nature and definition of painting and art making. Reconfiguring notions of authenticity, meaning and context, Stingel’s diverse and multi-faceted oeuvre defies convention. Using a range of artistic processes and materials – including Styrofoam and carpet – he continually seeks to demystify the artistic process, the artist, and finally, the art object itself.
Born in 1956 in Merano, Italy, Stingel, who moved to New York City in 1987, first rose to prominence in the late 1980s for his monochrome works and the accompanying Instructions booklet (1989), which provided a guide for creating them. Bordering on the conceptual, these works played with the relationship between artist and artwork. At this time, his dedication to the practice of painting stood in stark contrast with the prevailing tendency of the art world and the commonly held belief that painting as a medium was dead.
Over the course of his career he has experimented with removing the boundaries between artworks and the spaces in which they are exhibited, covering galleries with often-ornate carpeting (most recently at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice in 2013), or with panels overlaid with malleable silver sheets. In this way, the viewer’s relationship with artworks and with exhibition spaces is radically reconfigured. Stingel also produces more traditional oil-on-canvas compositions, including a series of melancholic self-portraits. Ranging from blurred to photorealistic, they position painting as a repository of memory, mediated by time and by the artist’s subjectivity.
In both 1999 and 2003, Stingel participated in the Venice Biennale. In 2004, he covered Vanderbilt Hall in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, with carpet in a work entitled Plan B. Stingel’s work was shown in a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2007.
Today, his art can be found in renowned museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; The Broad, Los Angeles; Tate Modern, London, and the Saatchi Gallery, London.
Rudolf Stingel lives and works in New York and Merano, Italy.