'A carpet is a painting, and a painting is a carpet. It is only our position in relation to them that changes. Our relation to life, to a painting or to a carpet, is the same relation we have to the earth we stand on: it moves, but we don't feel it.'
(F. Bonami quoted in 'Rudolf Stingel', Gagosian Gallery, exh. cat., New York 2011, p.7).
The minimalist and conceptual works of the South-Tyrolean born artist Rudolf Stingel are an exploration into the history of painting itself. Like Gerhard Richter, Stingel's approach to painting comes through the use of various techniques that allude to the traditions and shortcomings of modernist painting. Such as demonstrated in his artist-book, instructions from 1989, Stingel demystifies the aura around modernist paintings by demonstrating its techniques, while at the same time making its content reproachable to the spectator. Balancing his works between abstraction and figuration, Stingel can be seen to discharge the tension between the two painterly forms. Acknowledging this relationship he objectively disillusions the boundaries between referential and non-referential painting.
By deploying a wide spectrum of unusual materials which range from carpets to Styrofoam or aluminum, Stingel's works share an uncommon beauty. This unique work executed in 2008 demonstrates a progression in Stingel's artistic exploration of space through the use of ornamental, floral carpets. These highly decorative and commercially manufactured carpets, which Stingel originally used as installations and collaborative ready-mades in which the audience would tread and leave their traces on, are intended to raise our awareness of space in relation to ourselves and our surrounding. The work in question demonstrates the transition of this notion onto the canvas. In its painterly form, the carpet, as an artistic element in its own merit, is reduced to an architectural plane which defines the black monochromatic space. Simultaneously, the contrasting grey of the ornamental design, inspired by the baroque period, acts as a transition into the abstract realm.