Daily Archives: March 16, 2008

Assembling Light

JAE 62-2

While the trajectories of minimalist light art and assemblage art have been historically distinct, these movements seek to produce similarly charged atmospheres that transcend common material associations. A marriage of these traditions employing programmable light nets and reused beverage containers seeks to capitalize on this similarity, shifting deeply-embedded cultural readings of a ubiquitous consumer product via integrated illumination that alters the material’s inherent banality.

Comprised of commercially-available fluorescent tubes set within gallery spaces, Dan Flavin’s light installations embody the direct and impersonal approach advocated by minimalist artists such as Ad Reinhardt, who declared that “Art begins with the getting rid of nature.”1 However, despite Flavin’s humble account that his work is “as plain and open and direct an art as you will ever find,”2 his installations achieve sophisticated results from the complex interplay of light and color within spaces as well as the dynamic play of shadows cast by viewers of the works. Regarding his search for a plastic treatment of light, Flavin has described the experience this way: “Now the entire interior spatial container and its parts-wall, floor, and ceiling, could support this strip of light but would not restrict its act of light except to enfold it.”3 [...]

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