For the inaugural show of the new gallery of Sadie Coles HQ, at 69 South Audley Street, renowned Italian artist Rudolf Stingel continues his exploration of the viewer’s physical encounter with the artwork. Upsetting notions of authenticity and context, an imposing single three-panel painting re-imagines a famous modern masterpiece. It mimics the moment in which this work is seen for the first time, as an image in a library book, black and white. In keeping with the perceived disjuncture between the real and the imagined, the exact subject matter of the painting will be revealed only when the show opens to the public.
Currently the subject of a major survey show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, (until 14 October 2007), Stingel is celebrated for his rigorous and critical approach to painting. Immersed in minimalist, conceptual, and performative histories, Stingel’s use of a wide-range of everyday, unconventional materials such as carpet, rubber and Styrofoam, consistently challenges the purity of the medium. Of the exhibition at the Whitney Roberta Smith has written in the New York Times: "For nearly 20 years [Rudolf Stingel] has made work that seduces the eye while also upending most notions of what, exactly, constitutes a painting, how it should be made and by whom." Beginning and ending with one of Stingel’s installations of aluminum-coated panels into which previous viewers had been invited to carve, the Whitney’s show clearly traces his shift from early abstract monochromatic works (from 1987), to more recent oversized, melancholic self-portraits that deal with figuration and the translation of photography (from 2006). In its variety and ambition Stingel’s practice insists on a constant and radical evaluation of both painting’s limits and possibilities in which the viewer is complicit throughout.
Rudolf Stingel was born in 1956 in Merano, Italy. He lives and works in New York and Bolzano, Italy and previously exhibited a series of gold wallpaper paintings at Sadie Coles HQ in 2004.