Flavin, Judd, McCracken, Sandback
David Zwirner Hong Kong is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Dan Flavin (1933–1996), Donald Judd (1928–1994), John McCracken (1934–2011), and Fred Sandback (1943–2003), four American artists associated with Minimalism, one of the most significant artistic developments of the late twentieth century. Each artist will be represented by a focused presentation of his work in a single room, allowing visitors to experience both the commonalities and distinctions in the individual approaches to reductive form, material, color, and space.
Since its inception, David Zwirner has featured critically acclaimed exhibitions devoted to the work of artists associated with Minimal art and is recognized as one of the foremost international galleries to present this work to the public. Highlighting historically significant installations, this exhibition will be the first major presentation of Minimal art to be on view in Hong Kong.
Image: Installation view, Dan Flavin, untitled, 1974, David Zwirner, Hong Kong, 2018. © 2018 Stephen Flavin
"What is minimalism? . . . One problem with an art-historical rubric of this kind is its assumption that work identified by a single name shares a formal identity, and the artists . . . share a common understanding. . . . We come closer to the truth in viewing minimalism not as a movement with a coherent platform, but as a field of contiguity and conflict, of proximity and difference. Each of the artists . . . participated in a larger debate surrounding the development of a new kind of geometric abstraction during the sixties. . . . The paths they took, while overlapping, were unique."
—James Meyer, Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties, 2001
Image: Installation view, Flavin, Judd, McCracken, Sandback, David Zwirner, Hong Kong, 2018
"I think I’m one of those people who, for better or worse, really believes in some of the simplest materials as being the best ones to think through. . . . I think that art that doesn’t separate itself, that is integrated or can even be taken for granted to a certain extent, is the most interesting now to me. This governs my own outlook. You don’t need museum labels or plaques. If people perceive that they have an enhanced circumstance, as opposed to what they had before, that’s all right with me."
—Dan Flavin in conversation with Tiffany Bell, 1982; interview published in Dan Flavin: The Complete Lights, 1961–1996, 2004
"Three dimensions are real space. That gets rid of the problem of illusionism and of literal space, space in and around marks and colors—which is riddance of one of the salient and most objectionable relics of European art. The several limits of painting are no longer present. A work can be as powerful as it can be thought to be. Actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface. . . . The use of three dimensions makes it possible to use all sorts of materials and colors. Most of the work involves new materials, either recent inventions or things not used before in art. Little was done until lately with the wide range of industrial products. . . . They are specific. . . . They aren’t obviously art. The form of a work and its materials are closely related."
—Donald Judd, "Specific Objects," 1964; published in Donald Judd Writings, 2016
“I was trying to get clarity, conciseness, and effectiveness in the work. . . . I think my work is related to both the human figure and to architecture. The early sculptures were figure- or head-like, the pyramid and post and lintel were more architectural. Then the blocks and slabs were more or less both, and the plank is more figurative, though at the same time like an architectural element. . . . I think I expected to affect art to some degree. I’d liked some seemingly simple works of art—Egyptian columns, [Barnett] Newman’s paintings, [Carl] Andre’s row of bricks, [Dan] Flavin’s single fluorescent tube, etc.—and those things had seemed to me to have gotten something interesting together—they had an energy of their own—and had definitely seemed to have reality-changing potentials.”
—John McCracken in conversation with Matthew Higgs, 2005; interview published in Early Sculpture/John McCracken, 2005
"I wanted all the positive aspects of sculpture without the jumble that it implied . . . I didn’t want to be encumbered by all these materials, but I did want to work in a volumetric way, to do something that wasn’t dance or theatre. There was a sculptural motivation, and if the methods available to satisfy that motivation, be that stone or steel or whatever else, seemed inappropriate, then perhaps just connecting things could fill that lack. To find a vocabulary that allows one to do something, something different that may not really be sculpture but that might correspond more to my personal needs. . . . What I’m doing here is a construction of an intuitive type. . . . My intention is to utilize the space, to bring about a co-production between it and my intentions, to respect its particularities."
—Fred Sandback in an interview with Sans Titre, Bulletin d’Art Contemporain, 1992