Dan Flavin

My tutor recommended that for Assignment 4 I should look at the work of Dan Flavin. Dan Flavin is an installation artist who specializes in fluorescent light tube installations. His work belongs to the minimalism movement. His work is extremely minimal, almost to the extreme. He creates structures with various coloured fluorescent light tubes and arranges them strategically in the gallery, sometimes creating barriers to impede the viewer, other times using corners to display his work. I can’t say that I’m crazy about his work – its just not my cup of tea at all, but I wouldn’t want to write him off completely. Having viewed this type of light installation a few years ago, I do think that this type of work is best appreciated when seen in the gallery firsthand and not in a photograph as one does not get the full experience of viewing the installation from different angles and distances and observing the interplay of the light and shadows on the walls and floors of the gallery.

That said one can observe the light falloff of the fluorescent tubes into the ambient light on some of the photographs, the reflections of the coloured tubes resembling the reflection of neon and traffic lights on the wet roads during or after a rain storm. (I find the real thing infinitely more interesting.) In doing so his artwork is not solely comprised of the actual hardware but of the lighting effect of each piece on the surrounding walls and floors.

I am not really sure how looking at photographs of fluorescent tubes is going to help me with the light assignment though – the jury is still out on that. I can’t quite see myself running out to purchase fluorescent light tubes to create similar setups. I think I would have appreciated this more had there been some subjects other than the just fluorescent tubes. Something where the light of the tubes strike a three dimensional object maybe …

Reference list

Flavin, Dan. (1963) pink out of a corner (to Jasper Johns) [online]. Sculpture. New York: Museum of Modern Art. Available from: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A1911&page_number=2&template_id=1&sort_order=1 [Accessed 11 December, 2014]

Flavin, Dan. (1966) greens crossing greens (to Piet Mondrian who lacked green) [online]. Green fluorescent light. New York: Guggenheim Museum. Available from: http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/artwork/1305 [Accessed 11 December, 2014]


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  1. Pingback: Assignment 4: Applying lighting techniques | Lynda Kuit Photography

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