St. Moritz, Switzerland — Beginning December 19, Vito Schnabel Gallery will present Dan Flavin, to Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, master potters, the first exhibition to bring together the work of renowned American minimalist Dan Flavin and acclaimed European ceramicists Lucie Rie and Hans Coper. Eighteen significant light works from Flavin’s two 1990 series dedicated to the Vienna-born Rie and her German-born protégé Coper, respectively, will be shown in juxtaposition with a group of fifteen vessels from his personal collection of objects by the London-based potters. Organized in collaboration with Stephen Flavin, President of the Dan Flavin Estate, the exhibition has been conceived to explore affinities between three artists who employed dramatically different mediums to establish and redefine space, and to investigate issues of materiality, harmony, and permanence.
On view through February 4, 2018, Dan Flavin, to Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, master potters marks the beginning of an ongoing collaboration planned by Vito Schnabel Gallery and the Dan Flavin Estate. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue featuring essays by curator and art historian Marianne Stockebrand, and Jenni Sorkin, art historian, critic, and Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Radical visionaries of their respective mediums and disciplines, Flavin, Rie, and Coper are principal figures of the twentieth-century postwar avant-garde. Flavin, a titan of “situational” installation art, and Rie and Coper, masters of modern craft, were equally uncompromising and sensitive producers of form. None of the three would claim to be adherents to sculptural tradition; but their practices, while unique, shared a clear intention to address overarching aesthetic concerns of their time. For example, Flavin’s light “proposals” — here, arrangements of different colored fluorescent lights comprising the series untitled (to Lucie Rie, master potter) (1990) — and Rie’s ceramic pots, which express endless variations of certain basic shapes, are united by their makers’ exquisite rigor and a dedicated reductivism that adheres to a sensual, meditative visual paradigm embedded within the discourse of form.
When Flavin began collecting the work of Rie and Coper 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.
There will be a reception on Friday, December 29, at Via Maistra 37 from 6–8pm.
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