Transforming colour into light is one of the great themes of painting. Dan Flavin (1933–1996) used light as colour and material. Employing ordinary neon light tubes, he developed a radical new form of art that freed the “picture” from its frame and turned it into a luminous, space-consuming colour object. Expanding the wall painting by turning it into a light installation corresponded with the liberation of light from its traditionally spiritual meaning. Flavin’s works recall neon signs from urban nightlife or commonplace living-room lamps. Viewers find themselves immersed in a splendid play of light and colour that allows the physical experience of unrestrained art.
This publication elucidates the development of Flavin’s oeuvre―from the visual objects, the so-called Icons, to the spatial installations with neon tubes―and explains their genesis based on drawings and prints, an independent group of works that testifies to the artist’s visual sensitivity.
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