Rudolf Stingel

Italy 1956

Installation, Conceptual Art

Rudolf Stingel
Rudolf Stingel
March 26, 2017
Music, Gestalt, .

Rudolf Stingel is an Italian artist born in Merano, Italy in 1956. This conceptual artist is best known for his unusual installations. Stingel gained his prominence in the late 1980s, due to his monochromatic, silver paintings with blue, yellow, or red tones. In 1989, his work was included in the Venice Biennale, and for this purpose, Stingel created Instructions – a manual of the process of making one of his pieces, and in several languages, once more engaging the audience in dialogue, which is the trademark of his artworks.

new york palazzo paintings are displayed at the new york gallery and museum as part of his exhibitions
Rudolf Stingel – St. Barbara, 2009, photo by Ellen Page (Left) / Instructions (Right) – photo via

Turning Art Upside Down

The trend started in the 1980s and continues, as Rudolf Stingel keeps questioning the medium of his choice. His own pieces of artwork ask questions such as what is a painting, how is it made and by whom. Rudolf’s art, installations, and conceptual projects keep asking this question in their form and content. His choice of materials as turning every notion about art upside down. Authenticity, hierarchy, meaning, context, it is all being doubted and reconceptualized. The audience is welcome to participate in Stingel’s pieces, which he bluntly communicates in his aforementioned work Instructions. Stingel is well known for completely covering exhibition spaces with carpeting or malleable silver sheet that would overlay panels, inviting viewers to mark them as they wish. This concept serves to set the art free from the imprisonment of the canvas, steady materials and even the hand of the artist.

Stingel questions every notion of art and painting

work with whitney on the news in chicago
Rudolf Stingel – Installation view at Palazzo Grassi photo Stefan Altenburger

Dialogue with the Audience

Rudolf’s perception of art makes it a two-way street, more than just something that the artist creates, and the audience observes in awe. The reaction of the audience, their involvement in the process is what engages it in a dialogue about the perception of art. Rudolf keeps exploring the process of creation by using conceptual art and unlikely installations. His art invites the audience to interact, as he announces a different kind of artistic process. His artworks develop as a sort of public collaborations, thus making aesthetics relations more than just a notion. Stingel’s use of ready-made materials such as carpet, cast polyurethane and Styrofoam challenges every contemporary notion about painting.

His works invite the audience to interact, announcing different artistic process

new york in 2007 and other news from the untitled exhibition at the whitney museum in chicago 2015
Rudolf Stingel – Installation view at Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong, 2015 – photo via

Traditional Compositions

It is not only these break-through artworks that Stingel produces. There are also his more traditional-seeming, good old oil-on-canvas compositions, that range from photorealistic to blurred, positioning his paintings as a repository of memory, unreliable in its nature, and indubitably mediated by the artist’s subjectivity. The artist’s abstract paintings are single colored on canvas, with silver paint sprayed on through a piece of gauze. A very much similar technique is used for his works on paper, where he applies oil paint through the tulle. Once again, Stingel plays with the spectator’s sense of aesthetics, turning him into an active participant, much more than just a viewer. He never seizes to challenge our preconceived notions and questions of cultural hierarchy, the mythology of the artist and his position in society, or modes of production.

Stingel positions painting as a repository of memory

 new gallery in merano - contact for exhibitions
Rudolf Stingel – Exhibition view, Gagosian Gallery – photo by Rob McKeever

Art of the Untitled

For some installations, Stingel covered walls or floors with silver metallic Celotex panels, a kind of insulation material. This was an invitation for the visitors to leave marks. The first installation of this kind was at 2003 Venice Biennale, then in 2007 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago an exhibition that marked his mid-career retrospective, and traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art. When the panels were ready, i.e. had results on them, the marks of the audience, Rudolf Stingel made a selection out of them, in different dimensions and had them cast in metal and plated gold. Thanks to a procedure of copying panels as precise as possible, their character, with detailed marks of the audience are kept. So, we must ask the question – who is the artist in this scenario?

Rudolf Stingel - read this american biography of a new york gallery 2012
Rudolf Stingel – Untitled, 2012 (left) / Untitled (right) – photo via

The art of Carpeting

The architectural context of painting is conveyed through the carpet as a medium. In his unique manner of redefining the meaning of painting and its perception, Stingel places the carpet at the core of his poetics, moving it from just a piece of furniture to a place of paradigmatic stance. It serves as an inspiration, with a variety of textures and typologies, it is an autonomous pictorial element. Covering both walls and floors, the artist creates a continuity that overthrows the ordinary spatial relationships that the viewer is accustomed to.

Rudolf Stingel lives and works in New York and Merano, Italy.

Featured image: Rudolf Stingel – portrait – photo courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Rudolf StingelGagosian Gallery, New YorkSolo
2014GOLD Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL. Group
2013 Mostly West: Franz West and Artist Collaborations. Inverleith House, Edinburgh, Scotland.Group
2013NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star. New Museum, New York, NY.Group
2012 Lifelike Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.Group
2011The World Belongs to You. Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy.Group
2011Off the Wall Fora De Parede. Serralves Foundation. Porto, PortugalGroup
2014Rudolf Stingel Massimo de Carlo, Milan, Italy Group
2014Rudolf Stingel Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY Group
2013Rudolf Stingel Palazzo Grassi, François Pinault Foundation, Venice, Italy Group
2012Rudolf Stingel Sadie Coles HQ, London, UK Group
2012Rudolf Stingel Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France Group
2012Rudolf Stingel Secession Association of Visual Artists, Wien, Austria Group
2011Rudolf Stingel Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY Group
2010High Ideals & Crazy Dreams, curated by Gerwald Rockenschaub, Galerie Vera Munro, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2010Rudolf Stingel Live, Neue National Galerie, Berlin, Germany Solo
2009Rudolf Stingel Sadie Coles HQ, London, England Solo
2009Rudolf Stingel Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2009Something About Mary, organized by Dodie Kazanjian, The Arnold and Marie Schwartz The Metropolitan Opera, New York, NYGroup
2009Self-Portraits Skarstedt Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2009Mapping the Studio: Artists from the François Pinault Collection Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, François Pinault Foundation, Venice, ItalyGroup
2009Black & White Stellan Holm Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2009After Images Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2008Rudolf StingelPaula Cooper Gallery, New York, NY Solo
2008No Information Available Gladstone Gallery, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2008Excerpt: Selections from the Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn Collection Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NYGroup
2008Whoʼs Afraid of Jasper Johns, conceived by Urs Fischer & Gavin Brown Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2008Life on Mars 55th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PAGroup
2008God is Design, curated by Neville Wakefield Galpão Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, BrasilGroup
2008Prefab Gagosian Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2008Accidental Modernism, curated by Christopher Eamon Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, NYGroup
2007The Complexity of the Simple L&M Arts, New York, NYGroup
2007Rudolf Stingel Sadie Coles HQ, London, EnglandSolo
2007Rudolf Stingel: Paintings 1987-2007, curated by Francesco Bonami MCA, Chicago, IL; traveling to Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NYSolo
2007Grotjahn, Hirst, Parrino, Reyle, Richter, Stingel, Warhol Gagosian Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2007Sequence 1: Painting and Sculpture from the Francois Pinault Collection Palazzo Grassi, Venice, ItalyGroup
2007Painting as Fact – Fact as Fiction, organized by Bob NIckas de Pury & Luxembourg, Zürich, SwitzerlandGroup
2007White Van de Weghe Fine Art, New York, NYGroup
2006Rudolf Stingel-Urs Fischer Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milan, Italy Solo
2006Rudolf Stingel Inverleith House, Edinburgh, UK Solo
2006CON-SENS: Rudolf Stingel and Franz West, Public Art Project curated by Catherine Grout ar-ge Kunst Museum Gallery, Bolzano, ItalyGroup
2006Where are we going? (Works from the Collection of Francois Pinault), curated by Alison Gingeras Palazzo Grassi, Venice, ItalyGroup
2006Infinite Painting: Contemporary Painting and Global Realism, curated by Francesco Bonami and Sarah Cosulich Canarutto Villa Manin Center for Contemporary Art, Passariano, ItalyGroup
2006Day for Night: Whitney Biennial 2006, curated by Chrissie Iles and Philippe VergneThe Whitney Museum, New York, NYGroup
2006Hiding in the Light, curated by Neville Wakefield Mary Boone Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2005The Red Thread Howard House Contemporary, Seattle, WAGroup
2005EURAC tower Bolzano, ItalySolo
2005Rudolf Stingel Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, NY (solo)Group
2005The Red Thread Howard House Contemporary, Seattle, WAGroup
2005Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist’s Eye Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL; Hayward Gallery, London, UK; MART Roverto, ItalyGroup
2004Rudolf Stingel Sadie Coles HQ, London, England Solo
2004Plan B Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Grand Central Terminal, New York, NYSolo
2004Rudolf Stingel Galleria Massimo de Carlo, Milan, ItalySolo
2004Home Depot Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany Solo
2004None of the above, curated by Cesar Marzetti Museum of New Art, Detroit, MIGroup
2004About Painting The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Spring, NYGroup
2004Power, Corruption and Lies Roth Horowitz, New York, NYGroup
2004Love,Hate: from Magritte to Cattelan, Masterpieces from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, Villa Manin-Centro d’Arte Contemporanea, Passariano, Udine, ItalyGroup
2004Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated): Art from 1951 to the Present The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NYGroup
2003Venice Biennale Venice, ItalyGroup
2003Rudolf Stingel Galerie Schmela, Dusseldorf, GermanySolo
2003Forever, curated by Adam McEwen and Neville WakefieldAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2003Commodification of Buddhism The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, NYGroup
2002Rudolf Stingel Georg Kargl Galerie, Vienna, Austria Solo
2002Rudolf Stingel Paula Cooper Gallery New York, NYSolo
2002Shimmering Substance - View FinderArnolfini Gallery, Bristol, EnglandGroup
2002Penetration, curated by Mark Fletcher Friedrich Petzel& Marianne Boesky, New York, NYGroup
2001UntitledPaula Cooper Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2001Painting at the Edge of the World Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MNGroup
2001The Appartment, with Franz West Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2001Monochrome-Monochrome? Florence Lynch Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2000Examining Pictures: Exhibiting Paintings UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2000Age of Influence: Reflections in the Mirror of American Culture Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, ILGroup
2000pittura austriae. Positionen aus Oserreich IIII Galerie Elisabeth und Klaus Thoman, Innsbruck, AustriaGroup
2000Un siècle d’innocence : le monochrome blanc Centre Rooseum pour l’art contemporainGroup
1999A Continued Investigation of the Relevance of Abstraction Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1998Due o tre cose che so di loro..., curated by Marco Meneguzzo PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, ItalyGroup
1997Truce: Echoes of Art in an Age of Endless Conclusions curated by Francesco Bonami, Site Santa Fe, NMGroup
1996Screen, curated by Joshua Decter Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1995Pittura - Immedia Neue Galerie and Kunstlerhaus, Graz, AustriaGroup
1994Felix Gonzalez-Torres - Rudolf Stingel Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, AustriaGroup
1993Live In Your Head, curated by Robert Nickas Heiligenkreuzerhof, Vienna, AustriaGroup
1992UntitledGreenberg Van Doren Gallery, St. Louis, MOGroup