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Rudolf Stingel (b. 1956)
signed and dated 'Stingel 96' (on the reverse)
oil and enamel on canvas
96 1/8 x 78 1/8 in. (244.1 x 198.4 cm.)
Executed in 1996.
Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles

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Sara Friedlander
Sara Friedlander

Lot Essay

As a provocative and exploratory artist, Rudolf Stingel aims to create a dialogue on the perceptions of art that heightens the viewer's awareness of such artistic qualities as color, gesture, texture and, above all, surface. Stingel's art celebrates the surface of the canvas, elevating it to a subject matter in and of itself. Through a methodical process, which he articulated in a 1989 booklet using step-by-step instructions, Stingel is able to enhance the presence of the surface while simultaneously expressing the infinite nature of art: that the ideal of painting is understood to be the process of painting, which continues from one canvas to the next.

This process begins with the application of a thick layer of paint onto the canvas. Stingel then strategically applies pieces of gauze, which he sprays with paint using a spray gun. The gauze is removed, leaving behind a richly-texture surface-in the case of Untitled, a magnificent magenta juxtaposed with an explosive, blinding white. Stingel's booklet delineates this process to a factory-like production, evoking memories of Andy Warhol's technical approach to art-making. The curator and critic Francesco Bonami writes: "Stingel moves painting one step further, understanding that painting carries energy and consumes it, and abstraction happens when the power goes off momentarily" (F. Bonami, (ed.), "Painting of Paintings for Paintings," in Rudolf Stingel, exh. cat., Chicago, 2007, p. 16).

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