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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Dan Flavin: Icons at Ikon

'Ikon presents a major exhibition of fluorescent light works by Dan Flavin (1933–1996), one of the most important post-war American artists.

Taking his statement “It is what it is and it ain’t nothing else” as a departure point, Ikon’s exhibition exemplifies Flavin’s emphasis on the importance of the context of artistic experience, capitalising on the variety of interiors that Ikon Gallery has to offer.'

'Leaving the classical genres of painting and sculpture behind him, from the early 1960s he focused entirely on exploring and realizing the artistic potential of light. Using commercial fluorescent light fixtures, he created installations that offered new dimensions on our perception of space ... his earliest experiments with artificial light: eight wall-mounted pieces created between 1961 and 1964, ... he called Icons. The Icons are wooden crates painted in one colour, onto which Flavin mounted coloured lamp bulbs or fluorescent light fixtures ... explore the interface the Icons ... so virulently forge between the religious mysticism of light, the flickering of the brightly illuminated billboards on Broadway and the neon shrines of popular art.'

'The first hint of Flavin's interest in fluorescent light is found in his 1961 poem that reads:














That same year he began work on his icons series, in which incandescent and fluorescent bulbs are attached to shallow, boxlike square constructions made from various materials such as wood, Formica, or Masonite. icon V (Coran’s Broadway Flesh) is one of the largest and brightest of the icons, with twenty-eight incandescent "candle" bulbs lining the perimeter of the central square. By using the term "icon" to describe these early light constructions, Flavin evokes the gold-ground religious icons of Byzantine art. But the term “icon” is used ironically, and hints at the artist’s ambivalence toward his Catholic upbringing; icon V lacks the reverence of a sacred object, and instead projects a kitschlike quality, not only in the use of the cheap incandescent bulbs, but also in the reference to the gaudy lights of Broadway.'


Tim Hecker - Castrati Stack.

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