Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Dan Flavin

"Despite Flavin's claim to have made an arbitrary choice of color in his breakthrough diagonal, the selection of gold light obviously conjures the traditional religious artefact, if ironically.6 Forced by his father to attend a Roman 

Catholic seminary, Flavin had cultivated an educated rejection of traditional theology. Two of his first fluorescent works of 1963 were dedicated to William of Ockham, a medieval philosopher and founder of Nominalism who proposed that faith in God must be held separately from any rational deduction from facts of this earth. Flavin's invocation of Nominalism -- known in the more popular dictum that "no more entities should be posited than are necessary" (Ockham's Razor) -- could be considered a Rosetta stone for Minimalism. Flavin's art neither rejects nor summons faith since the question of God is never raised. For, art is matter and is, therefore, no proof of anything spiritual.

Created by an artist steeped in traditions of art and canons of Catholicism, Flavin's icons and fluorescent works offer nothing less than a reconsideration and deconstruction of art's past through both the systematic use of form and light and the tool of irony. Thus, he pits the transcendent aspirations of art against the practical commonality of the commercial light fixture, allowing neither to prevail."
 Michael Govan

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