Taking inspiration from Dan Flavin’s 1973 Corners, Barriers and Corridors in Fluorescent Light show at the Saint Louis Art Museum,a new exhibition of installations – or “situations” as Flavin called them – at David Zwirner, running from September 10-October 24, and featuring works from the 1960s and 1970s, is a masterclass in the subtle manipulation of space and architecture.
Spatial perception is altered by the play of light in every piece. Standouts include Untitled (to Dorothy and Roy Lichtenstein on not seeing anyone in the room), 1968, shown for the first time since 1970 and named after a 1961 painting by the American pop-artist, titled I can see the whole room… And there’s nobody in it! and which shines brilliant-white light into an empty space; Untitled (to Sonja), 1969, which features vibrant yellow and green tubes that form twofluorescent barriers across the room; Untitled (to Barry, Mike, Chuck and Leonard), 1972-1975, a corridor of pink and yellow light that createstwo inaccessible fields of colour and light; and Untitled (to Barnett Newman) one-four, 1971 – not seen in the US as a group in its entirety since that year – in which four corners of a room shine with rectangles of red, blue and yellow light.
Rounding out the exhibition will be several of Flavin’s lesser-known works: corners warmed by wall-mounted triangles of white, circular lampsin Untitled (to a man, George McGovern)2, 1972(first picture), and riotous shades of pink, purple and blue cast across walls by Untitled (to Virginia Dwan) 1 and 2, from 1971 (second picture).