Opening November 30, 2019, David Zwirner will present an exhibition of work by American artist Dan Flavin (1933-1996) at its recently opened Paris location. Spanning three decades of his career, this will be the first major presentation of Flavin’s work in the French capital since his 2006 retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Image: Dan Flavin, untitled, 1970. Installation view, David Zwirner, Paris, 2019
“It is what it is, and it ain’t nothin’ else…. There is no overwhelming spirituality you are supposed to come into contact with…. And it is very easy to understand. One might not think of light as a matter of fact, but I do... as plain and open and direct an art as you will ever find.” —Dan Flavin, quoted in Michael Gibson, “The Strange Case of the Fluorescent Tube,” Art International 1, 1987
“Three main aspects of Flavin’s work are the fluorescent tubes as the source of light, the light diffused throughout the surrounding space or cast upon nearby surfaces, and the arrangement together or placement upon surfaces of the fixtures and tubes. The lit tubes are intense and very definite. They are very much a particular visible state, a phenomenon.”
—Donald Judd, “Aspects of Flavin's Work,” catalogue essay for the exhibition Dan Flavin, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1969
“Flavin's idea was to make art out of off-the-rack industrial light fixtures. A few sizes. A handful of colors. Just follow his instructions. It seemed, as an approach, utterly impersonal and possibly not even art as people then knew it. But like so many other radical artistic reactions against Abstract Expressionism's stress on touch and raw emotion, it was the unlikely route to often ecstatic utterance. It consciously blurred the distinction between art and architecture, seizing architecture as part of art's sculptural vocabulary, incorporating corners, walls, doorways and windows, creating a category that was a melting pot of painting, sculpture and design…. His fluorescent tubes were not about transporting viewers elsewhere. They were about sharpening our attunement to the immediate surroundings.” —Michael Kimmelman in a 2004 New York Times review of the exhibition Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, which traveled internationally from 2004 to 2007