Rudolf Stingel is one of the most provocative artists today, creating works that are result of a conceptual and formal analysis of the institution of the modernist painting. The Italian-born painter consistently confronts the traditional idea of the concept of authorship, deconstructing the processes of making art. In 1989, he produced an instruction manual on how to make abstract paintings and duly painted according to its formula for almost a decade. Untitled of 1995 stands as a testament to this practice, where a vast metallic canvas has been made according to the instructions published in his booklet. These works begin with the application of a thick layer of paint after which pieces of gauze are used as a stencil over which pigment is sprayed, resulting in a richly textured surface. Stingel's painting highlights basic qualities like colour, texture, gesture, and most importantly, surface, but in a surprising way. His ultimate goal is to demystify the artistic process, the artist, and finally, the art object.
The painterly facade of Untitled offers pure and immediate visual delectation, its delicately encrusted silver pigment shimmering with a range of ineffable effects. The veil of silver varies in its effect from a hazy mist to a rumpled satin, thereby evincing a decadent beauty that appears worthy of canonization into the Abstract Sublime. Yet Stingel uses this aesthetic gratification as a lure to ensnare the viewer in what is actually a conceptually rooted construction designed to challenge notions of authenticity, hierarchy, individuality, and meaning in art.