For his seventh solo exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ, Rudolf Stingel presents three oil paintings at the Kingly Street gallery in Soho.
Rudolf Stingel has over the course of his four decade career continuously experimented with painting as both medium and subject, consciously positioning it as a metaphor through which to probe the perceptions of image and the conventional boundaries of what constitutes art. Throughout photorealism has endured as an integral part of his painting oeuvre; combining his inherently process based and conceptually rigorous approach. Drawing on pre-existing imagery, often filtered through multiple degrees of reproduction, Stingel employs a scrupulous and exacting method to meticulously recreate an image, as well as the subtle and varying degrees of physical degradation – its scuffs, folds and smattered colour defects – generating a self-reflexive image of an image. Through this objective process Stingel establishes an authorial distancing, destabilising the presupposed expectations of authenticity and facsimile, context and origin; and in so doing subversively invokes a renewed encounter of the image.
Made in 2015, the works on view depict three near identical iterations of a ghost-like marionette, replicated precisely in oil paint across three canvases. Dramatically amplified on a monumental scale, the figures are ghoulish spectres, recalling the art historical symbolism of the memento mori. The artist’s exact and literal rendering of the original photographic image is at odds with the timeworn patina of the surfaces, consequentially subjected to the paint splatters and random marks of the studio floor that further exaggerates the sense of time and decay. When viewed in close up, the subject appears to dissolve into textured abstraction – elusive and indeterminate – investing the scene with a double edged mood of eeriness and nostalgia, invoking a charged synthesis between graphic content and painterly process.