Exceptionally rare within the artist’s oeuvre, Dan Flavin’s On No. 4 of June 16, 1964 is a seminal early work that captures the genesis of the progression of the artist’s conceptual development. Consisting of two blue and two yellow lines stretching diagonally across the picture plane, the work is a skillfully simplified permutation of The Diagonal of May 25, 1963, the first sculpture by the artist to solely use fluorescent light tubes. In Flavin’s visual vocabulary, these lines, luminescing against the black background, represent the aforementioned tubes and allow for near infinite combinations of form and color through a highly minimal language. Describing his works on paper, Flavin stated, “all my diagrams, even the oldest, seem applicable again and continually. It is as though my system synonymizes its past, present and future states without incurring loss of relevance” (Dan Flavin in Artforum, December 1966, pp. 27-29). Following this logic, On No. 4 of June 1964, in its reduced linear elegance, is far more than a study in line and color. Instead, the work speaks to interactions of light and space, and the unlimited possibilities therein.
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