Created by layering thickly applied oil paint, tulle netting and enamel, Untitled utilizes Stingel’s pioneering industrialized process. When the netting is peeled away after the final layer has been applied, the surface of the canvas takes on the textured appearance of the tulle. The artist’s mechanized process engages with themes of the 19th century Industrial Revolution and the development of sophisticated production technologies. The curator Francesco Bonami explains that "By disrupting painting's assumption of material, process, and placement, Stingel not only bursts open the conventions of painting, but creates unique ways of thinking about the medium and its reception" (Francesco Bonami in Exh. Cat., Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Rudolf Stingel, 2007, p. 10). In this way, it is characteristic of Stingel that even as he critiques the process of painting, he simultaneously celebrates its visual pleasures.
Moving to New York in 1987 Stingel entered an environment dominated by a dichotomy of dual aesthetic trends: Minimalism, which stressed the removal of any evidence of the artist’s hand in the creative process, and Neo-Expressionism, which emphasized the presence of the artist’s hand in the painterly creation of the work. Despite this, the young artist resisted to confine his practice. Although still acknowledging his artistic surroundings, he pioneered a novel process-focused approach to painting through the creation of his lustered silver monochromes. In Untitled, Stingel integrates the opposing forces of a reproductive and industrialized process in line with his Minimalist peers, while maintaining a highly tactile and visually rich quality more akin to that of the Neo-Expressionists. The seemingly contradicting dualities in Untitled are in fact not unique to the present work, but instead, are fundamental components that the artist has employed throughout the entirety of his oeuvre. In its magnificent shimmering surface, with its contrastingly minimal composition, the present work celebrates the key artistic principles that have driven Stingel’s artistic success.
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