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Born: 1956, Merano, Italy
Lives and Works: New York City
Rudolf Stingel is renowned for cavalierly dazzling canvases and riotously garish carpet installations as well as several recent melancholic self-portraits that seem to indicate a more introspective, or at least less exuberantly colorful, direction for his twenty-year career. From his New York debut in which he simply fitted a gallery with an excruciatingly orange carpet to the red-on-red brocaded surfaces he has often employed on canvases or walls—Stingel maintains a wry attitude in his artmaking, whereby the stunning visual effects belie the casually "vulgar" ease with which they wield their seductive powers. The visual sorcery typical of his paintings from the late 1980s, for example—gorgeous polychromatic panels that might be taken for luxurious crushed velvet—was deliberately shown to be merely the result of a banal procedure, as the artist produced what was effectively a "make your own Stingel" guide (Instructions, 1989). Here in Untitled (2008), visual illusion and sumptuous surface seem to equally dominate the expanses of two canvases, as gold-on-gold patterned planes appear to recede into the distance.