Lot 5
  • 5

Rudolf Stingel

500,000 - 700,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Rudolf Stingel
  • Untitled 
  • oil and enamel on canvas 
  • 170 by 135cm.; 67 by 53 1/4 in.
  • Executed in 2012.


Massimo de Carlo, Milan

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2012

Catalogue Note

A hypnotic expanse of shimmering crimsons and silvers, Untitled is an enthralling example of Rudolf Stingel’s iconic tulle facture. Executed in 2012, the present work marks the ultimate development of Stingel’s highly coveted monochromatic silver paintings. In Untitled the vibrant red and silver hues brilliantly fuse causing the foreground and background to dissolve into a dazzling cacophony of colour and texture that is punctuated by jewel-like diamonds of pulsating red pigment. Beautifully blending both superfluous ornamentation and frivolity with the rigidity of geometric repetition built through industrialised processes, Stingel’s nuanced references to decorative styles deftly contribute to his overarching concerns regarding the fusion of pictorial and architectural space. Stingel’s Untitled is an enchanting and rare example of the artist’s innovative and career defining expansion of the definition of painting.

Stingel's preoccupation with what painting is and what it can achieve has taken him to challenge every assumption or theory about the medium. Developing a process-oriented approach, in 1989 he made the radical move to release his formative Instructions: a limited edition book that explained the manner by which his monochromes could be easily replicated. Having started his career at a time where painting’s end had been declared, Stingel followed his own direction, becoming part of a generation of artists who instead of abandoning the medium decided to explore it further. Like Sigmar Polke, Stingel has used every material imaginable in his works, from the most traditional to the most unorthodox such as carpet; and like Gerhard Richter, he has distilled the very essence of painting, the sensuality of the medium and its theoretical aspects, into his practice.

Completed in 2012, Untitled forms part of a pivotal new series of works that features the artist’s signature use of tulle. Notable for the repeating pattern of crimson diamonds that dance across the canvas surface in a geometric grid, these standout works act as vibrant counterparts to the earlier silver paintings. Invoking the obsessional repetitiveness of Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Nets, in which an all-encompassing motif of recurring dots verges on the transcendental, the present work engrosses the viewer into its mesmerising surface. To create this painting Stingel cut through the netted tulle to make small diamond shapes. Once the paint had been applied over the tulle, it left tiny jewel-like pockets of colour, which burst through the silver surface and which make this dynamic series so remarkable. Untitled extends Stingel’s pioneering industrialised processes by providing an imprint or trace of a predetermined referent. Addressing the inherent nature of painting, it makes permanent a past presence now removed. As exemplified by the vibrating tension evident in Untitled, Stingel's work plays with optical illusion, the use and disruption of monochromatic surfaces and architecture. Using repeating patterns to emphasise spatial orientation (and at time, disorientation), Stingel evokes an uncanny sense of graphic movement and visual distortion: "For Stingel, painting is not just representational – it's always related to materiality, and physical change within a temporal space. Stingel's paintings rely on and point to an expanded meaning of time" (Ibid.). The tension between representation and negation through abstraction, makes Untitled a fascinating and utterly pioneering example of Stingel's signature preoccupation with space, pattern, and texture.