Gallerynote 1/2007

January 30 to March 17, 2007

DAN FLAVIN (1933-1996) Works 1969-1990
This exhibition encompasses five works produced between 1969 and 1990, along with a selection of drawings and prints. Modest evidence of Dan Flavin's considerable interest in works on paper. The latter are astonishing and elucidating, demonstrating the breadth and unique quality of his artistic ideas. A fixation on his equipment – the use of fluorescent light – falls far short of properly recognizing his outstanding contribution to art of the modern era. A differentiated reception, taking into account the intensive sensory impressions as well as the circumstances of origin, reveals the richness and intelligence of his unusually innovative and creative artistic achievement.

As with his friends Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt and Carl Andre, a radical discovery and invention forms the basis for the unfolding of a lifework, always open and undeterminable. Ultimately constituting a building that is now a conspicuous and stable part of the art landscape.

The reduction of the preconditions, the clear determination of the grammar generates resistance and stimulation in equal measure, allowing simplicity while also creating complexity. The fixtures that hold the electrical equipment in place and the colored and white fluorescent tubes are commodities that could once be found in any hardware store. The rich standardized color scale of the tubes was an internationally established vocabulary, available in a small number of standard lengths, the decision being made to abstain from custom-made designs. The found object limits the formal possibilities. The unusual application and utilization of this necessary equipment produces an important alienation effect that allows these elements and their constellations to exist quite visibly as a sculptural object. Convergence and divergence of this object on one hand and the overwhelming spatial expansion of the light on the other are left as the difference, somewhat speculatively expressed like concept and vision or triviality and transgression.

In any event, the participating viewer is never deluded or deceived regarding the origin of the intense sensations of color and space. Only with a few permanent installations involving precise architectonic parameters did the artist take steps to restrict the visibility of the light sources.

Overemphasis and mystical elevation that might be suggested by the dazzling occurrence of light is emphatically scaled back in favor of the balance or ambivalence of feeling and intellect. Vision and vividness of art object, material and space clearly refer to the present, rejecting any sort of sentimentality and positioning thoroughly platonic elements on the robust ground of the lived-in world.


Dan Flavin – A Retrospective November 15, 2006 – March 4, 2007 Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
"Early Retirement" January 19 – March 3, 2007 curated by Glen Rubsamen, Mai 36 Gallery, Zürich
Mario Merz – Disegni January 12 – April 9, 2007 Kunstmuseum Winterthur