Untitled, ca. 1970
Fluorescent light fixtures
Length: 121.9 cm (48 inches)
Helen M. Danforth Acquisition Fund 2003.14
Untitled is characteristic of Flavin’s pioneering use of fluorescent lighting fixtures to occupy space through light and color. The simple pairing of red and blue lights produces a bluishpurple glow that extends upwards, across the walls, and into our own space to prompt greater awareness of our physical relationship to the work, our surroundings, and other people or objects around us. Flavin’s straightforward presentation of the fluorescent bulbs and their fixtures offsets the transcendent appearance of the light with the matter-of-factness of the materials that produce it.(April 13, 2012 – February 24, 2013)
A key figure in the Minimalist art movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Dan Flavin worked exclusively with off-the-shelf fluorescent light tubes to create sculptures that use light, color, and simple geometric configurations to explore the visual and physical experiences of perception. Installed horizontally across the corner of the room, the fluorescent tubes cast a haloed diamond of red and blue light that activates the surrounding gallery space.
Dan Flavin, a key figure in the Minimalist sculpture movement that evolved during the 1960s, created geometric works with industrial fluorescent light tubes. Untitled exhibits the pure and unadorned form that is a hallmark of the Minimalist aesthetic. Breaking with the concerns of modernism, which saw art as a wholly visual experience, Minimalism engaged the viewer’s body, sense of space, and surroundings. Here, two fixtures hung diagonally—-a four-foot blue bulb with a two-foot red tube behind it—-cast a haloed diamond of colored light in a room’s corner, thus transforming the space immediately around the object and integrating the gallery’s architecture into the work.
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. “Selected Works”. Providence: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2008.