Dan Flavin (New York, 1933-1996) is a minimalist artist. He became interested in art during his military service in Korea in 1959 and then embarked on his training in drawing and painting at Columbia University. Since the early 1960s, he has created his series of Icons, monochromatic canvases on which he applies industrial bulbs. From 1963, he abandoned painting and began working exclusively with industrial neon tubes, which he arranged into simple and symmetrical combinations. His Monument for V. Tatlin series(1964-90) followed, in homage to Vladmir Tatlin, the Russian architect who designed the Monument to the Third International, which was never built. For Flavin, neon, as a given form, is a way of articulating potentially infinite series that enter into a critical relationship with the surrounding space: it offers a structural comment, contradiction and poetic metamorphosis through light.
The Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlino (1999) and Dia Foundation for the Arts (2004) both dedicated large posthumous retrospectives to Dan Flavin. His works were shown at Palazzo Grassi in the exhibition “The Illusion of Light” (2014-15) and “Where are We Going?” (2006) and at Punta della Dogana in “Mapping the Studio” (2009-11).