Dan Flavin | Portfolio
Dan Flavin (1933-1996) was an American artist widely recognized for his pioneering work in minimalist art, particularly his use of fluorescent light as a medium. Born in Jamaica, New York, Flavin served in the United States Air Force before pursuing a career as an artist.
Flavin's early works were primarily paintings and drawings, but he soon became interested in exploring the possibilities of light as a sculptural material. In the early 1960s, he began using commercially available fluorescent light fixtures to create simple, geometric installations that illuminated the walls and corners of exhibition spaces. These early works were typically made up of a series of identical fluorescent tubes arranged in a grid or linear formation.
Approach to art
Flavin's minimalist approach to art was in keeping with the prevailing aesthetic of the time, which emphasized simplicity, clarity, and a reduction of art to its essential elements. However, his use of fluorescent light was a departure from traditional sculptural materials like marble or bronze. Instead, Flavin's light sculptures were ephemeral and depended on the physical space they occupied for their effect. They also relied on the viewer's perception of light and color, as the tubes would emit different hues depending on the angle and intensity of the light.
Most influential works
One of Flavin's early breakthrough works was "the diagonal of May 25, 1963," which consisted of a single fluorescent tube installed diagonally across a corner of the exhibition space. The title of the work referred to the date of its creation, and the diagonal placement of the tube created a dynamic visual tension within the space. This work was a precursor to Flavin's later installations, which often played with the architectural features of the exhibition space.