06 February 2006

Dan Flavin Retrospective

On sunday I went to the see the Dan Flavin retrospective at the Hayward gallery.. This was an interesting retrospective of an artist with a huge reputation. Did I like it? The answer is I am not sure. I went with four people and two of them were left absolutely cold by the show. I found some of it fascinating the way that the lights play optical tricks on your eyes but for the most part it didn't do much for me. I do have a problem "getting" minimalist art in the main as I sometimes struggle to see what the artist is trying to say (the opposite of conceptual art when sometimes the meaning the artist is trying to convey is all too obvious).

Nevertheless I would recommend seeing it to make up your own minds. A word of warning though it is very crowded. We had to queue for some time to get in on Sunday afternoon so you might be better off going at a quieter time.

Here is what the gallery say about it:

"Dan Flavin: A Retrospective is the first comprehensive exhibition of the work of the American artist Dan Flavin (1933-96).One of the most innovative figures in 20th-century art, Flavin used fluorescent light as his medium, adapting mass-produced, commercially-available materials into works of profound intensity and astounding beauty. Moving beyond the traditional realms of painting and sculpture, he became a key exponent of minimalism in the early 1960s, alongside artists such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt.

Flavin’s works, complex geometric forms in a series of dazzling colours, will transform the dramatic spaces of the Hayward Gallery, itself an icon of 1960s design.Including works spanning his career, from his early ‘icons’ and ‘monuments’ to corner pieces, corridors, barriers and large-scale installations, the exhibition will present around 60 light works, as well as a selection of sketches, drawings, and early collage constructions, to explore Flavin’s practice – what he called ‘as plain and open and direct an art as you will ever find’."

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