Lisson Gallery

The year of American sculptor Dan Flavin's debut exhibition at Lisson, 1973, was also the time of his first visit to the UK. 

"Electric light is one of the distinguishing characteristics of our age, and it is not surprising that so many artists have tried with such varying success to make use of it. [...] Among the artists in question by far the most important, to my eye, is the American Dan Flavin, whose first London show is now on at the Lisson Gallery in Bell Street. Flavin decided just ten years ago to make art with tubes of fluorescent light of many commercially available colour. The result was to function as a valid substitute for drawing, for painting, for sculpture and for stained glass. It was to operate, in other words, as a drawn form, as a three-dimensional form, as a source of colour, and as a generator of secondary effects that would modify their environment, much as stained glass modifies the building in which it is installed. 

The Lisson show is necessarily small, but it includes two pieces in which Flavin plays warm colour against cool colour – peach-juice against paving-stones, if one had to define the two – and in doing so charts feeling in quite a new way. It also has, downstairs, one of the corner-pieces which set up a formal structure in their own right and go on to modify the whole room by the casting of coloured light, on the one hand, and of disruptive shadow on the other. A major museum show for Flavin is surely long overdue."

John Russell, ‘Dimensions of Light’, The Sunday Times, 25 November 1973 

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