Stingel Status

Italian artist Rudolf Stingel was among the latest art acquisitions announced yesterday by the National Gallery of Australia, following unexpected extra truckloads of EOFY donations from its benefactors.

Stingel’s work defies categorisation: conceptual, abstract, photorealism, painting – and anti-painting, even using styrofoam, carpeting, aluminium-faced foam insulation as his materials. 

When he arrived in New York in the 80s, Stingel ‘had no idea what my art was about’. Then he published a manual titled ‘Instructions’, with photos, to explain his production methods, and so anybody could theoretically make a Stingel painting. It ‘changed everything’, he said, and somehow gave retrospective meaning to his previous artworks*. Hmm.

Now, it may not surprise readers that the Kookynie Regional Gallery (KRG), which is known for its avant-garde acquisitions, was also looking out for a Stingel late last year. KC Art Editor and Assistant were invited along (we paid our own way), because of their artistic fingers-on-the-pulse of local aesthetics in the goldfields.

At the Fondation Beyeler in Basel (Switzerland, that is) we had a good look at some Stingels, along with KRG Director Arthur de Pain, known as Art to his mates.  Unfortunately the KRG budget could not stretch to a purchase, and the Fondation was not selling anyway, so we took some photos instead (that’s KC Assistant Art Editor in the pics).  

NGA’S Stingel purchase is ‘Untitled’, but we don’t yet know which of the hundreds he produced it is, so look forward to the unveiling. Hopefully it’s like the big wall works in the Fondation, where you could add your own moniker for posterity.

(*Thanks to Farah Nayeri of the New York Times for that background)

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