As Stingel weds his recent photographybased works with his ongoing concern with
painting’s relationship to three-dimensional space, his images start to take on a more
active presence and slowly broach a connection to cinema. This burgeoning relationship was hinted at in his installation of carefully choreographed self-portraits.
An exhibition of the small-scale self-portraits in Edinburgh’s Inverleith House [“Louvre (After Sam),” 2006] allowed the viewer to start to make temporal connections between the separate canvases. While not necessarily sequential, the paintings act almost as jump cuts moving across different moments in the same event. The viewer can not
help but try and use these images to reconstruct the scene depicted. The large-scale self-portraits displayed push this relationship even further, taking Samore’s already
cinematic photographs and giving them the monumental presence of the movie screen.
These images are pictures just starting to come to life. Even when dramatic in
scale, the mundane nature of Stingel’s appearance and gestures suggests the gentle
flicker of home movies or even the casual, accidental magic of early cinema.
It is clear that the incorporation of photography into his practice has allowed Stingel to extend the experience of individual canvases even further than before.
Returning to Stingel’s newest work, Untitled (2008) perhaps best captures his preoccupation with the movement of images across surfaces and across time.
Like the preceding wallpaper paintings, Untitled (2008) depends on the relationships between flat pattern and an illusion of volume and light that border on the photographic. The floral pattern of the Plan B carpet entered the stream of images that Stingel has produced and calls upon to manipulate, re-frame, fragment and project in any number of ways.
In doing so, Stingel remains constantly attentive to how the viewer looks at any picture and how their experience can shift and transform over time. Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal and the entryway to the Walker both began as physical spaces that existed as images in the minds of thousands of visitors. Stingel’s feat was to transform these images by applying this found pattern to trace over a single architectural plane. The result is a new picture in the viewers mind, one intimately tied to the appealingly soft surface of the carpet itself. This image then fractures again when it reaches the sumptuous surfaces of the gold paintings, thus losing its color scheme and moving from fl oor to wall. Stingel’s paintings depend upon a viewer moving through threedimensional space, engaged in an active visual perception that is constantly translated into memory. It is this process that Stingel relies upon to turn action into image and image into painting.
Gary Murayari is Senior Curatorial Assistant at the Whitney Museum of American
Art, New York.
Rudolf Stingel was born in Merano, Italy, in 1956. He lives and works in New York.
Selected solo shows: 2008: Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. 2007: Sadie Coles HQ, London; MCA, Chicago; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 2006: Massimo De Carlo, Milan; Inverleith House, Edinburgh. 2005: EURAC Tower, Bolzano, Italy; Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. 2004: Sadie Coles HQ, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis/Grand Central Terminal, New York; Museum für Moderne Kunst,
Frankfurt. 2002: Galerie Georg Kargl, Vienna. 2001: MART, Trento and Rovereto,
Italy; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.
Selected group shows: 2008: 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, USA. 2007: “Sequence 1,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice. 2006: Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of american Art, New York; “Where Are We Going?,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice; “Infi nite Painting,” Villa Manin, Passariano, Italy. 2005: “Universal Experience: Art, Life, and t
he Tourist’s Eye,” MoCA, Chicago; “Bidibidobidiboo,” Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin. 2004: “Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated),” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. 2003: 50th Venice Biennale. 2002: “Shimmering Substance/View Finder,” Arnolfi ni Gallery, Bristol, UK. 2001: “Painting at the Edge of the World,” Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA. 2000: “Examining Pictures: xhibiting Paintings,” Whitechapel, London/MoCA Chicago/ UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.