<i>Untitled</i>, 2008 <br/>  — <br/> Oil and enamel on canvas <br/> 335,3 × 487,7 cm <br/> — <br/> <i>Untitled</i>, 2008 <br/>  — <br/> Oil and enamel on canvas <br/> 335,3 × 487,7 cm <br/> — <br/> Exhibition view <br/> « Mapping the Studio », Punta della Dogana, 2009-11.
 
Fondation Beyeler /
Basel
 
<a class="switch">Text</a><br> <b>Elena Geuna</b><br> <span style="display: none;"> Curator of the exhibition “Rudolf Stingel” <br/> at Palazzo Grassi in 2013 </span>
 
Rudolf Stingel
 
The Fondation Beyeler will devote its summer 2019 exhibition to contemporary painter Rudolf Stingel (born in 1956 in Merano, Italy). This will be the first exhibition in a european museum since his 2013 <i>Carte Blanche</i> at Palazzo Grassi, presenting the most important series produced by Stingel throughout this career.

<span class="alinea"></span>There is a certain amount of difficulty, and care, involved in writing about that which resists language. This resistance to description is embodied in the very fabric of Rudolf Stingel’s canvases. That is to say, there are no words which would successfully convey the monumentality, the density, and the silence of Stingel’s gold floors—two paintings from the Pinault Collection that the artist himself has selected to be part of his forthcoming solo exhibition, which opens in May 2019 at Fondation Beyeler in Basel. This is the first exhibition in a European museum dedicated to the artist since the memorable presentation at Palazzo Grassi in 2013. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>I was honored to collaborate with the artist on that occasion. A carpet with oriental patterns covered, for the first time, the entire surface of the walls and floors, across the atrium and both upper floors. The spatial relationships across Palazzo Grassi’s 5,000 square meters were thus challenged, amplifying the artist’s thinking of the carpet as medium through which painting relates to its architectural context. Stingel’s paintings, through their material inquiry into the meaning of “painting” and its perception, indeed provoke a questioning of the position of the spectator, of how the spectator that stands before silence may—or may not—articulate himself. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>This project was all the more affecting given the long history of trust and familiarity that preceded it. I have happy memories of the first times Rudolf Stingel, a longtime friend, and François Pinault met. A sense of shared affinity and common understanding was immediate, and the relation between artist and collector soon developed into friendship—a visit to Stingel’s studio becoming an essential part of every trip to New York. It was, therefore, quite natural for Stingel’s work to be included in the main exhibitions of the Pinault Collection, including the inaugural show at Palazzo Grassi in 2006. For that occasion, the artist recreated his 2001 work, <i>Untitled</i>: a room constituted of Celotex insulation panels, which had become part of the Pinault Collection that year, following its presentation at the Palazzo delle Albere in Trento. The audience was invited to leave marks of its presence on the room’s silver walls, triggering a relation with the work that was both visual and tactile. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>From the mid 2000s, Stingel’s work has fluctuated between figuration and abstraction, producing valuable contrasts which would, at the same time, constitute and redefine his creative universe. For the 2009 opening exhibition of Punta della Dogana, “Mapping the Studio,” the artist’s large-scale self-portrait <i>Untitled (Alpino 1976)</i> (2006) was displayed in the museum’s central cube, alongside three large silver paintings with a chain-link fence pattern. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>The two <i>Untitled</i> works shown at Fondation Beyeler may capture the artist’s history, condensed. In these paintings, executed in 2010 and now exhibited for the first time in a museum, we find traces of the artist’s past, resting beneath an evasive layer of gold. The works seem to bear marks of an unintended memory, a hidden image. Indeed, the surface of the paintings is witness to an artistic process that constantly fluctuates between intention and contingency: the artist lays his canvases on the floor, his physical gestures establishing a conversation with the material itself. The result—a layering of deliberate and unforeseen actions—becomes as intricate as the motifs of a carpet, this unmistakable figure of the artist’s vocabulary. The gold floors, even after completion, continue to yield their own surface. They propose a contemplative, rarefied dimension—a dimension beyond language.
 
Opening page: <br/> <i>Untitled (After Sam)</i>, 2006 <br/>  — <br/> Oil on canvas <br/> 335,3 × 457,2 cm <br/> — <br/> Exhibition view <br/> « Dancing with Myself », Punta della Dogana, 2018. <br/> <br/> <i>Untitled</i>, 2010 <br/> — <br/> Oil and enamel on canvas <br/> 330,2 × 469,9 × 5,5 cm on canvas
 
<i>Untitled</i>, 2010 <br/>  — <br/> Oil and enamel on canvas <br/> 330,2 × 469,9 × 5,5 cm
<i>Untitled</i>, 2001 <br/>  — <br/> Celotex Tuff R mounted on plywood <br/> Variable sized <br/> — <br/> Exhibition view <br/> « Where Are We Going? », Palazzo Grassi, 2006.
<i>Untitled</i>, 2008 <br/>  — <br/> Oil and enamel on canvas <br/> 335,3 × 487,7 cm <br/> — <br/> <i>Untitled</i>, 2008 <br/>  — <br/> Oil and enamel on canvas <br/> 335,3 × 487,7 cm <br/> — <br/> Exhibition view <br/> « Mapping the Studio », Punta della Dogana, 2009-11.
<i>Untitled</i>, 2013 <br/>  — <br/> Oil on canvas <br/> 243,8 × 168,3 cm <br/> — <br/> Exhibition view <br/> « Rudolf Stingel », Palazzo Grassi, 2013-14.
 

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