Monument on Mrs. Reppin's survival

  • 1966
  • Dan Flavin
  • strip lights
  • Location not on view.
  • Acquired in 1967
  • Inventory number 125

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This work by Dan Flavin is composed of four neon tubes with bulbs. The work is set up in the corner of a gallery. Two of the tubes are attached horizontally at the same height on each side of the corner. The third leans on the other two at the ends, thus forming a triangle with the walls. On this lamp a shorter tube has been attached vertically in the middle. The three long tubes have a white neon tube which shines into the gallery. The shorter one contains a red one aimed at a corner.

From 1963 Dan Flavin worked only with industrially manufactured neon tubes. He used different types: straight tubes in four standard lengths, available in nine different colours and one size of circular tubes which are white. Flavin used these to make simple, comprehensible constructions. The works can be seen as separate sculptures, but they have a direct relationship to the space in which they are exhibited. Flavin’s work is classified as Minimal Art. In this movement the artists chose to work with geometric shapes and industrial materials. The relationship between the artwork and the environment also played an important role in this.

In 'Monument on Mrs. Reppien’s survival', Flavin played around with a number of contrasts, using white against coloured light, a horizontal element versus a vertical element, light focusing on the visitor versus light focused the other way. It is as though he is lifting a corner with the light of the white neon tubes, but as the place where the work is attached, the corner itself becomes part of the monument. With his titles or subtitles, Flavin often referred to a particular person or event. Nevertheless, his work is primarily about the viewer’s visual experience.

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