DAN FLAVIN’S CORRIDORS
By Elizabeth Patterson
The late, great Dan Flavin remains immortal through his everlasting work. Flavin was best known for his fluorescent light structures and installations. His work will continue to reach others in a new exhibit called Corners, Barriers, and Corridors at David Zwirner gallery.
Flavin was experimenting with light-based artwork as early as the 1960s. Hallmarks of his work include a limited range of colors (usually the primary colors, white, green, pink and violet) and specific structures and shapes – tubes, and eventually, circles. Flavin’s work rotated around the idea of using light to draw attention to specific parts of a room – not just in the space taken up by the light itself, but also in the space the light illuminated.
Corners, Barriers and Corridors focuses on spaces that almost aren’t spaces – corners, the awkward meeting of two walls, perfect for lamps but not so perfect for anything else; barriers, which block entry and limit access to a space; and corridors, spaces that one usually rushes through to a greater destination. This intriguing theme already sets the tone for what is to be expected in the exhibit. The examination of liminal spaces forces the viewer to consider the spaces available as well as the spaces occupied by the light fixtures themselves. One particular work, “untitled (to Sonja)” exemplifies this perfectly. Two ladder-like structures of differing sizes in soft colored light face each other on the wall. The viewer’s eye is drawn to not only the work, but also the space between them, creating a dialogue between the art and the viewer.
Flavin’s works were always much more than merely colored fluorescent lights. His choice to sometimes block off access to rooms, allowing only for his structure and the resulting light they cast to be visible, allows for a moment of reflection upon observing the work. Other works, though fully accessible to guests, still beg for interpretation – occasionally, some light is shed via the names of the structures, but mostly they are open-ended pieces for the viewer to project whatever meaning they wish upon it. Corners, Barriers and Corridors will be on view at the David Zwirner gallery from September 10 – October 24, 2015.