About the work

DAN GRAHAM

ABOUT THE WORK


   DAN GRAHAM
     2-Way Mirror and Punched Aluminium Solid Triangle, 1996
Aluminium, glas og tree
240 x 400 x 340 cm
With its arresting appearance Graham's pavilion is highly conspicuous, whether placed in a museum or outside in a park. It seems to resist categorisation as sculpture, installation or architecture. And what is its function? The answer is: all three at once.

Like Graham's other architectural works it exists in a grey area between the functional and the purely artistic and hence 'useless'. - I wanted an anonymous middle ground between art and architecture, between public and private, Graham has explained of the idea behind the pavilion.

YOU TOO ARE THE WORK OF ART
Graham's pavilion is always and never the same: it constantly changes with the ambient lighting and the people moving about it at different times.

The pavilion becomes a framework for encounters between people, staging us with its mirrors. When we are reflected, we become the focus of attention as much as the work does, and the pavilion forces us to reflect on our relationship with the art, the surroundings, ourselves and our fellow human beings.

THE ARTIST AS ARCHITECT
2-Way Mirror and Punched Aluminum Solid Triangle's simple geometric shape and reflecting glass surfaces manifests clearly Graham's interest in architecture. In the choice of shape and materials it appears as a clone between a traditional gazebo, a modernist building and a minimalist art object. Minimalist sculpture is characterised by the industrial appearance and a distinct focus on the onlooker, who is encouraged to move around the sculpture, thus experiencing it both temporally and spatially. Additionally the pavilion carries a great resemblance to the unapproachable mirror surfaces on modernist architecture.

The pavilion is inspired by a number of different architectural types: bus shelters, phone booths but also famous modernist buildings such as the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion, erected in connection with the International Exposition in 1929.

Originally 2-Way Mirror and Punched Aluminum Solid Triangle was created for the garden of the Royal Shooting Club in Copenhagen in connection with the exhibition City Space in 1996. The work has been in ARKEN's Collection since 1997. It is one of around 35 pavilions Graham has executed in USA, Europe and Asia since he began working with glass pavilions in 1978.

Dan Graham’s art in general
2-Way Mirror and Punched Aluminium Solid Triangle is typical of Graham's pavilions, a medium he has pursued for a number of years.

Graham revisits ideas launched by the American Minimalists and Post-minimalists in the 1960s and '70s. He is interested in the situation arising from the encounter between onlooker and work. Wishing to create a dialogue between the work, the locale and the onlooker he employs reflective materials that capture both the light, the surroundings and the onlookers, making them inseparable from the work. Previously Graham worked in performance which included the onlooker in the work in different ways. Common to his art is the desire for the work of art to function as a framework for the encounter between us and others.

HERE AND NOW
The artist focuses on the situation here and now – temporally, socially and psychologically. The reflections on the walls of the pavilion make the onlooker aware of his own presence, his body and his gaze, and at the same time he meets other onlookers' bodies and their gazes at the work, the world, themselves and others. Thus Graham makes us conscious that the experiencing of art is something one shares with other onlookers in a collective space.

A BODILY GAZE
In Graham's works experience and perception are always connected with the body where the onlooker cannot avoid the consciousness of his own image. Additionally the onlooker cannot help but become aware of how our experiences are tied to the social space that we are a part of. His works stage the way in which we sense and perceive the world. Through manipulations like mirror images we are made aware of the significance of sense perception to our experience of the surroundings. Thus Graham's art is a question of concrete physical as much as psychological experience of ourselves and our surroundings.

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