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Interactivity in contemporary art practice

interactivity in contemporary art: Rudolf Stingel (detail)
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Rudolf Stingel

Italian-born, New York-based artist Rudolf Stingel has spent much of his career attempting to redefine what painting can be - often with the help of his audiences.

In 1989, he began producing canvases of pure red and blue pigments overlaid with silver spray paint.

Their shimmering surfaces partially reflected both their surroundings and the viewer, an optical inclusivity that Stingel has continued to explore through the use of increasingly mirror-like materials, such as metallic wallpapers or silver and gold foils.

More importantly, however, the works were accompanied by a booklet simply entitled 'Instructions', a manual describing the steps required to produce identitical works.

Directly involving spectators with the process of his paintings' creation, Stingel's DIY guides also provide the impetus to engage with art in the role of maker as well as observer.

In 1993, Stingel's contribution to the Venice Biennale was a bright orange, deep-pile carpet covering an entire wall in the Arsenale. Visitors were encouraged to caress its inviting surface, the swirling patterns left by their hands resembling enormous brushstrokes.

As New York Times critic Roberta Smith puts it: "The shock was multiple: Not only was this immense, furry orangeness a painting, it was interactive; you could run your fingers through its color. Yet for all its malleability, the piece remained basically impervious to interference. It was a concrete metaphor for art's ability to be different for each viewer and yet retain its essential integrity".

 

Interactive art, continued: Rudolf Stingel >

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