An Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, dated 2023

Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light

David Zwirner is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by American artist Dan Flavin (1933–1996) at the gallery’s London location. From 1963 until his death in 1996, Flavin produced a singularly consistent and prodigious body of work that utilized commercially available fluorescent lamps to create installations (or "situations," as he preferred to call them) of light and color. Presented across two floors, the works on view re-create the artist’s momentous colored fluorescent light exhibitions, which took place at Leo Castelli Gallery and Galerie Heiner Friedrich in New York and Cologne in 1976, and figure as important early instances of his innovative use of color and serial progressions in response to architectural space. 

Each of the nine colors that comprised the artist’s visual vocabulary during these years—red, pink, blue, green, yellow, cool white, daylight, warm white, and soft white—will be represented within the show. In bringing these works back together, the exhibition will provide a rare opportunity to directly experience the artist’s singular vision and ability to redefine space through everyday materials. 

David Zwirner has represented the Estate of Dan Flavin since 2009, and this will be the gallery’s first presentation of the artist’s work in London. A concurrent exhibition, Dan Flavin: Kornblee Gallery 1967, will be on view at the gallery’s 34 East 69th Street location in New York.

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Image: Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

Dates
January 12February 18, 2023
Gallery Hours
Tues—Sat 10am–6pm
Artist
A sketch by Dan Flavin, title to come

Dan Flavin, preparatory drawing for Heiner Friedrich, Cologne, 1976

Dan Flavin, preparatory drawing for Heiner Friedrich, Cologne, 1976

In 1976, Dan Flavin presented pivotal colored fluorescent light exhibitions at Leo Castelli Gallery and Galerie Heiner Friedrich in New York and Cologne. The featured works marked important early instances of his innovative use of color and serial progressions in response to architectural space, as well as early examples of repeated forms.

An image of Dan Flavin and Leo Castelli at the artist's home in Garrison, New York, dated 1975 (left); And an Installation view, colored fluorescent light, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, dated 1976 (right)

Dan Flavin and Leo Castelli at the artist's home in Garrison, New York, 1975 (left); Installation view, Dan Flavin, Heiner Friedrich, Inc., New York, 1976 (right)

Dan Flavin and Leo Castelli at the artist's home in Garrison, New York, 1975 (left); Installation view, Dan Flavin, Heiner Friedrich, Inc., New York, 1976 (right)

An Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, dated 2023

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

“I know now that I can reiterate any part of my fluorescent light system as adequate. Elements of parts of that system simply alter in situation installation. They lack the look of history. I sense no stylistic or structural development of any significance within my proposal—only shifts in partitive emphasis—modifying and addable without intrinsic change.... It is as though my system synonymizes its past, present, and future states without incurring a loss of relevance.”

—Dan Flavin, “Some Remarks,” Artforum, 1966

A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled (fondly, to "Phip"), dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled (fondly, to "Phip"), 1976
pink, red, and green fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) high
Edition of 5

Untitled (fondly, to "Phip") (1976) belongs to a series of two works dedicated to Philippa de Menil, one of the founders of the Dia Art Foundation. According to the artist’s catalog raisonné: “When exhibited in 1976, this work and the following were each installed twice along one wall. Two lights were positioned along the outside edges of the wall and the other two were in the middle, with equal space between them.”

A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled (fondly, to "Phip"), dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled (fondly, to "Phip"), 1976
pink, yellow, and blue fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) high
Edition of 5
install view at Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Cologne, 1976

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Cologne, 1976

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Cologne, 1976

“Flavin introduced a new aspect to visual art: the pouring, or flooding of color into space. By diffusing in all directions, the light creates a volume of color. Within this volume, however, color becomes visible only when it touches a reflecting plane, such as a wall, a floor, the ceiling, furniture or people.... Perhaps the most obvious comparisons are with stained glass windows in cathedrals.... Here as there is endlessness.”

—Marianne Stockebrand, “Pink, Yellow, Blue, Green & Other Colors in the Work of Dan Flavin,” lecture given at the Dia Center for the Arts, 1996

A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
pink and red fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) high
Edition of 5
A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
pink and yellow fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) high
Edition of 5
An Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, dated 2023

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

“I do not like the term ‘environment’ associated with my proposal.... I intend rapid comprehensions—get in and get out situations. I think that one has explicit moments with such particular light-space.”

—Dan Flavin, unpublished letter to Jan van der Marck, dated June 17, 1967

A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
pink and blue fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) high
Edition of 5
A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
pink and green fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) high
Edition of 5
An Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, dated 2023

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

“An installation by Flavin releases light from its customary obligation to illuminate objects, to target and isolate a point of preexisting interest, to convert its object to an objectified image.... Liberated from causes and effects, Flavin’s light bears color rather than illuminating it.”

—Richard Shiff, in Dan Flavin: Series and Progressions, 2010

A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
red and daylight fluorescent light
4 ft. (122 cm) wide
Edition of 5
A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
red and cool white light fluorescent light
4 ft. (122 cm) wide
Edition of 5
A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
red and warm white fluorescent light
4 ft. (122 cm) wide
Edition of 5
A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
red and soft white fluorescent light
4 ft. (122 cm) wide
Edition of 5
Installation view, Dan Flavin colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

“Flavin’s abstractions create a soft but precise color geometry.... The mixing of colored light differs from the mixing of a viscous pigment, and light is not as static, though it does seem still. What remains so mesmerizing, however, is that we imagine the slow-motion effect of colors mixing in space.”

—Michael Auping, in Dan Flavin: Corners, Barriers and Corridors, 2016

A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
red, yellow, and green fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) high, 2 ft. (61 cm) wide across a corner
Edition of 5
A sculpture by Dan Flavin, called untitled, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
red, yellow, and blue fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) high, 2 ft. (61 cm) wide across a corner
Edition of 5
An Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, dated 2023

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

Installation view, Dan Flavin: colored fluorescent light, David Zwirner, London, 2023

An untitled neon sculpture by Dan Flavin, dated 1976.

Dan Flavin

untitled, 1976
Pink, red, and blue fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) wide
Edition of 5

On View in New York

Dan Flavin: Kornblee Gallery 1967

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          colored fluorescent light

          Dan Flavin

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