ST. MORITZ, Switzerland—In a first and unsual juxtaposition, Dan Flavin, to Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, Master Potters exhibition at Vito Schnabel (December 19, 2017 – February 4, 2018) brings together the work of renowned American minimalist Dan Flavin and acclaimed European ceramists Lucie Rie (1902–1995) and Hans Coper (1920–1981).
Eighteen significant light works from Flavin’s two 1990 series dedicated to the Vienna-born Rie and her German-born protégé Coper, untitled (to Lucie Rie, master potter) and untitled (to Hans Coper, master potter), respectively, are on display alongside fifteen vessels from Flavin’s personal collection of objects by the London-based potters, the gallery writes.
When Flavin first discovered and began acquiring the work of Rie and Coper at the New York City gallery of fellow artist Hiroshi Sugimoto in the 1980s, he undoubtedly recognized the achievements of kindred spirits. As with his dedication to commercial fluorescent lighting, the potters constructed entire radical oeuvres upon the single deceptively ordinary medium of clay. And like Flavin, Rie and Coper employed repetition and variation to elevate the humble to the level of the sublime.
The very notion of variation and repetition is reflected in Flavin’s series dedicated to Rie—in his a single composition of six vertical and six horizontal fluorescent tubes mounted to a wall.
Each work in this series reveals itself identical in construction, repeated time and again. Yet it is in Flavin’s modification of emitted light, much like in the glazes of Rie’s pots, that harmonious and symphonic washes of color converge and blend to differentiate one form from another.
Like Flavin, Coper made work rooted in a discourse that reached far beyond his medium. In his forms, a passion for Cycladic art and ancient carvings often thrown as two or three composite parts that were then unified and joined together, Coper’s objects with the illusion of volume, profile, and three-dimensional space.
Flavin’s parenthetical titles affectionately express admiration for the two British potters, while deftly asserting his own work in a dialogue with these canonical figures of the history of art, the gallery adds.
Sharing an inherently banality, a lone ceramic pot may seem as solitary and unremarkable as a tube of fluorescent light. But manifested by the hands of Coper, Rie, and Flavin, form transcends the innate character of function and design.
The work of all three artists achieves a sublime directness in approach to materiality, which illuminates and sculpts the spaces inhabited by their objects. Transcending the boundaries of sculpture and pottery alike, degrees of originality and audacity unite the artists.
The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalog featuring essays by curator and art historian Marianne Stockebrand, and Jenni Sorkin, art historian, critic, and Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The exhibition marks the beginning on an ongoing collaboration between theVito Schnabel and the estate of Dan Flavin.
Text (edited) from gallery.
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