- Dan Flavin
- 96 x 10 英寸；243.8 x 25.4 公分
Ace Gallery, Los Angeles
Haunch of Venison, London
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2005
London, Haunch of Venison, Dan Flavin: Works from the 1960s, February - March 2005
Michael Govan and Tiffany Bell, Dan Flavin: the Complete Lights, 1961-1996, New Haven and London, 2004, cat. no. 42, p. 230, illustrated in color and artist's diagram, illustrated in color
Exh. Cat., London, Barbican Art Gallery, Colour after Klein, 2005, p. 90, illustrated in color (edition no. unknown)
The artist used only commercial, readily available fluorescent lights which come with limited formats, a finite palette, and a pre-determined parameter of brightness; the artist’s hand is erased, and yet the sculpture is nevertheless charged with Flavin’s sweeping creativity and reductive thoughtfulness. Appropriating the bulbs whose mass industrial production served to illuminate the conduits of advertising that Pop artists were already probing to the fullest extent, and with only a few circumscribed variations of color, arrangement, and size, Flavin rendered light in its purest form—at once metaphysical and concrete. In its majestic command of the wall, the present work demonstrates Flavin’s exceptionally acute sensitivity to arrangement and context, emblematic of his interest in how works occupy three-dimensional space within a particular environment. Flavin’s creative process rested not only in the organization of light in varying lengths and colors within a given format, but also in engineering the optical chromatic effect that his sculptures exude into their contiguous spatial environments.
Michael Govan considers Flavin’s early chromatic explorations as seminal in his artistic development. As Govan writes of Flavin’s 1964 four-bulb works in color, of which the present work is a key example, “Many particular aspects of color in light, and of commercial fluorescent light in particular, were incorporated in Flavin’s work as he gained confidence and experience with his medium. For example, in light, green is not only a primary color, but the addition of more colors produces white, whereas the result in paint would be black… It presents bright pastel colors directly to the viewer, but… it creates an over-all white light made by the four colors blending nearly into a full spectrum.” (Exh. Cat., Washington, D. C., National Gallery of Art (and travelling), Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, 2005, p. 59) Investigating every nuance of color, Flavin’s bulbs allow for the possibility of adjusting the chromatic intensity based on color temperature—presenting the possibility for various spectrums, Flavin introduces a complex plethora of potential variations within a highly constrained format. Subtle, multivalent, and ineffably poetic, Untitled (to Mr. and Mrs. Giuseppe Agrati) appears simple, yet resonates with concentrated profundity. The precisely arranged industrial standard fluorescent lamps challenge and elude their material objecthood by emitting an unbounded, splendid luminosity. Fittingly, both the space the work occupies and its beholder are inescapably encompassed and transformed.
Flavin’s very first diagonal bulb paid tribute to Constantin Brancusi, whose totemic columns mirror Flavin’s own sculptures in their formal simplicity and apparent capacity for limitless distention. Realizing the potentiality opened by his first diagonal for an endless extension of elements in a variety of configurations, Untitled (to Mr. and Mrs. Giuseppe Agrati) epitomizes one of Flavin’s first mature experimentations with sequencing, seriality, and progressions, a stylistic touchstone that would permeate the next thirty years of the artist’s practice. Embodying the surging skyward potentiality of a Brancusi, while emitting light from its inner core similar to Mark Rothko’s color-fields or Barnett Newman’s “zip”, the present work is a paragon of Flavin’s oeuvre, which quaked the grounds of art history from within its very foundation and illuminated a new trajectory for its future.