Dan Flavin - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Sunday, June 26, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Artist
    Galerie Sabine Knust, Munich
    Private Collection, Berlin

  • Exhibited

    Munich, Sabine Knust/Maximilian Verlag, Dan Flavin: Fluorescent Lights: 1963-96, 5 February – 31 March, 1998
    Leipzig, Germany, Museum der bildenden Künste, My Name: Sammlung Falckenberg, January 1999, p. 124 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    Michael Govan and Tiffany Bell, eds., Dan Flavin: The Complete Lights, 1961-1996, New York: Dia Art Foundation in association with Yale University Press, 2004, no. 683, p. 408 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    American artist Dan Flavin was one of the most influential figures of the minimalist art movement. Completed in the last year of his life, Untitled is a marvel of art theory and contemporary sculptural philosophy. Standing almost two meters in height, this sculpture is comprised of four delicate pink and green fluorescent tubes that stretch upwards in unison. As the solid beams rise they emit light that casts everything within reach with a warm seductive glow. The colours of the beams remain solid near the tubes, but as they dissipate further away from the source the two colours begin to appear blended, as if they had been intervened with a paintbrush. By embracing, and in turn affecting the architecture that surrounds it, this piece demonstrates the power behind Flavin’s avant-garde practice. Through the illumination of an environment, intense and layered relationships begin to form between the viewer, the light, and the space creating a spellbinding and mesmerizing experience.

    In this manner, Flavin used an ordinary object that can be found in supermarkets, shopping centres, and offices and drained it of meaning. He transformed this material and used it to create forms that could manipulate an intangible material: light. When asked why he first started using fluorescent tubes, Flavin explained, ‘I liked fluorescent light as a kind of typical modern light source that was so customary and taken for granted, that it would be ironic for me to abuse it.’ (R. Gaugert, Flavin Audio Interview, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, 1973). Flavin remained very ambiguous about the influences that inspired his work throughout his career choosing not to affect the viewer’s experience by allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions. Acting as a beacon, Flavin’s Untitled, transforms the space around it and illuminates the viewer’s eyes with a captivating and entrancing glow.

  • Artist Biography

    Dan Flavin

    American • 1933 - 1996

    Dan Flavin employed commercially-sold fluorescent light tubes in order to produce what he liked to call "situations" or installations. His minimalist approach transcended simplicity through his use of neon colors and thoughtful compositions. With straight-edged light beams, Flavin would often create dynamic arrangements reminiscent of Fred Sandback's work with yarn.

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pink and green fluorescent light
152.5 x 31.2 x 10 cm (60 x 12 1/4 x 3 7/8 in.)
This work is number 3 from an intended edition of 5 of which only 4 were fabricated and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 27 June 2016