Dan Flavin

Hors les murs From 1 February 2017 to 3 September 2017

© ADAGP, Paris 2017 pour les oeuvres de l’artiste. Courtesy Fondation Louis Vuitton. Crédit photo : Jérémie Souteyrat

Following Pierre Huyghe’s monographic exhibition, the Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo honors American artist Dan Flavin and continues its presentation of previously unseen works from the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s permanent collection. 

Dan Flavin first used light between 1961 and 1963, with his Icons series – eight square canvasses with electric and fluorescent bulbs attached – leading to the “epiphany” moment in his career when he created The Diagonal of May 25, 1963: a long fluorescent strip with a gold-colored bulb positioned on a wall at a 45-degree angle. From then on, he worked exclusively with pre-fabricated fluorescent tubes that came in four sizes and ten different colors (blue, green, pink, yellow, red, ultraviolet and four shades of white), arranging this limited repertoire without alteration or ornamentation.

Flavin’s work rejects all religious and mystical interpretations of light, expressing itself solely as a reference to its own presence – it is “situational” in nature, focusing on the physical space occupied by the artwork and the viewer’s interaction with it. During the 1960s and 70s, Flavin began to create more complex configurations such as simple structures, corner installations and his “barred corridors”. The scale of his works increased to inhabit every nook and cranny of the spaces, stretching from floor to ceiling and along walls, picture rails and corridors. At the same time the artist explored different variations and intensities of color, which he adjusted depending on the length, number and arrangement of tubes, placed vertically and horizontally as well as diagonally. From the 1970s onwards, the architectural settings Flavin worked on became increasingly monumental, leading him to focus on site-specific installations. Throughout his career, Flavin’s highest ambition was to offer sensory experiences of space by transforming it and enriching it using simple interactions of light.


of the exhibition