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Rudolf Stingel Carpet Art At Palazzo Grassi Exhibit During Venice Biennale Art Fair

The Carpet Art Palazzo Grassi Exhibit by Artist Rudolf Stingel

Rudolf Stingel is an artist who challenges conventional ideas of the creative process. His art works explore the relationship of art and space. Stingel uses different modern mediums in a way that creates an interaction with the space of the exhibit. In one of his most famous works, he used pieces inspired by 17th and 16th century Transylvanian rugs to cover the Palazzo Grassi. This 2013 exhibition was an imaginative use of carpets as a medium, but if we look beyond the surface, we might be able to gain insights into antique rugs as a medium of self-expression that applies today.

Rudolf Stingel Carpet Installation Nazmiyal

Rudolf Stingel’s installation was huge in scale.

Rudolf Stingel Uses Carpets as a Medium at Venice Biennale Art Fair

Oriental carpets often make their way into Stingel’s work, but always in a way that makes you view them differently. The carpets are created by Stingel, but instead of using traditional methods, his creations are in acrylic. They mimic the traditional elements of traditional Turkish carpets, but they are made using entirely modern techniques. In this way, Stingel merges with the ancient world and infuses it into the modern one.

Stingel’s most famous work was created for one of the most important art exhibitions in the world. The Venice Biennale is one of the largest and most important events on the modern art calendar. The Venice Biennale art fair began in 1895 and is held to showcase the most important artists from all over the globe. Over 350,000 visitors attend this exhibition every year that it is held.

Rudolf Stingel Knot Detail Nazmiyal

Rudolf Stingel’s carpet art showed every knot in detail.

Exploring Carpets and the Material World through the Eyes of Artist Rudolf Stingel

People in the world of contemporary art are still talking about Rudolf Stingel’s exhibition for the 2013 Venice Biennale exhibit. For this exhibit, Rudolf created carpets to cover the Palazzo Grassi. Using rugs as art, the carpets served as the backdrop for Stingel other art works which included both realistic and abstract pieces.

Stingel’s exhibits are known for having an interactive element. The viewer is not only an observer but a participant in the exhibit. The Palazzo Grassi is a three-story building located on the Grand Canal of Venice. It is in classical Italian style and was built in the 16th century by the Cini family. For several centuries, it passed through the hands of many noble families.

In 2005, it was purchased by the French entrepreneur Francis Pinault for the purpose of holding art exhibitions. It is divided into 40 rooms and has 5,000 square meters of exhibition floor. The 2013 the show by Rudolf Stingel was a solo exhibition.

The Palazzo Grassi is a grand building that is covered in frescoes by famous Italian artists. The ceilings are ornately decorated in true Venetian style with the paintings by the Baroque painter Giovanni Battista and modern artist Christian Griepenkeri. The architecture of the building is ancient and takes you back in time, but many of the pieces are contemporary. This space serves as a bridge that links the past to the present, making it the perfect backdrop for Stingel’s commentary in carpet.

Rudolf Stingel Palazzo Grassi Nazmiyal

Detail from Rudolf Stingel’s installation at the Palazzo Grassi.

At Palazzo Grassi – A Grand Exhibit by Artist Rudolf Stingel

Stingel’s carpet exhibit involved creating larger-than-life renditions of antique carpets, similar to those that would have graced the halls of this ancient building throughout the ages. The designs and colors of the carpets could easily pass for authentic Transylvanian carpets of this time, but they covered every inch of the walls and floors. Their scale made the space look much larger and awe-inspiring.

Viewers of carpet rooms could not help but feel dwarfed by the massive creations. The size of them made the experience within the room seem almost surreal. The carpets transformed the rooms in a way that disrupts the viewer’s normal orientation in time and space.

The exhibit presented the traditional arts in a way that is up close and personal. The carpets were created so that the visitor could get up close and examine how each individual knot that both blended into and created the whole. Stingel included techniques that were purposefully designed to give the carpet rooms an aged appearance, but they were created by synthetic means.

Rudolf Stingel Carpet Art Nazmiyal

Detail of a wall at Rudolf Stingel’s Palazzo Grassi exhibition.

Background of Artist Rudolf Stingel’s Palazzo Grassi Exhibit

The carpets were meant to remind visitors of the city’s past. The idea came from Sigmund Freud’s study in Vienna. Freud’s study has different Oriental carpets draped on furniture, on tables, walls, and covering almost the entire floor. Stingel took the pattern for the carpet at the Palazzo Grassi from one of the carpets on the floor of Sigmund Freud’s study. This gave the room a sense of containment. Thus, the architectural space becomes one of inner space and meditation. Entering the space created a suspension of the outer world for a time.

Stingel’s work also had a message about the passage of time. In a way, Stingel’s commentary about carpets brings us to examine the meaning and place of traditional arts in modern society. Using modern technology, Stingel could create pieces that were on a much larger scale than the traditional weavers, who undoubtedly created some of the original masterpieces that once graced the halls of the building. He could imitate the effects of age on the carpets and make them appear to be worn, distressed and aged, but they were only a larger than life imitation.

There is no doubt that Stingel’s grand rooms of carpet were impressive, but the carpets in them could only mimic the original. What they lost was the cultural aspect, the essence of the ancient tribal cultures and individual people who spent much of their lives creating these masterpieces.

Rudolf Stingel Carpet Installation Nazmiyal

Rudolf Stingel’s carpets climb up walls and go around corners.

Rudolf Stingel Venice Biennale Art Fair Palazzo Grassi Exhibit Uses Carpets as Commentary

This Rudolf Stingel Venice Biennale Art Fair Palazzo Grassi exhibit draws attention to the meaning and place of material objects in time and space. Many of the photos that were set against the backdrop of the carpets were large in scale, while others were quite small in comparison. The carpets represented work and artistry of vast empires, including the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Dynasty. Although presented as larger-than-life, they remind us of our own place and contribution to society. We might be small against the backdrop of our culture as a whole, but each individual knot contributes to the whole to create something that is bigger than the individual parts.

You cannot look at the beautiful carpets of the world and not be reminded of the contributions of the many people who came together to create a piece that would still inspire awe and wonder today. Each one of them was necessary to create the inspirational pieces of breathtaking beauty that exist today, even though the names of many of them have been lost to time.

Stingel used large size carpets in many other pieces after the exhibit. Every one of them was on a scale that allowed you to see each individual knot. Many of them only showed a small portion of the carpet but on an enormous scale.

Each of them asks us to contemplate our place in the collective and our contribution to the fabric of society. Just like Stingel’s exhibit, early carpets create a sense of suspended time and space. They transform the space into one of introspection and contemplation. Rugs and carpets represent the threads that bind communities together. We can look to them as a symbol of the ability of every one of us to work together to create something of beauty. That is something that everyone can take away from Stingel’s grand exhibit.

Check out some beautiful Transylvanian Rugs from the Nazmiyal Collection that remind us of Stingel’s exhibit:

Antique 17th Century Transylvanian Rug Nazmiyal

Antique 17th Century Transylvanian Rug

Antique 17th Century Transylvanian Rug Nazmiyal

Antique 17th Century Transylvanian Rug

Antique 17th Century Transylvanian Rug Nazmiyal

Antique 17th Century Transylvanian Rug

This art blog about artist Rudolf Stingel was published by Nazmiyal Antique Rug Gallery in NYC.

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