Art@Site Dan Graham Two-Way Mirror Dusseldorf

Dan Graham


Two-Way Mirror

Dan Graham, *1942 Urbana / USA, lebt in New York
Two-Way Mirror / Hedge - Almost Complete Circle, 2001.
Glas, Stahl, Hecke, 230 cm hoch. Standort: Ständehaus. Graham reizt die Möglichkeiten der zeitgenössischen Kunst voll aus. Sein Objekt verbindet mit heterogenen Materialien wie der verspiegelten Glasfläche und der Hecke Kunst und Natur. Beim Umschreiten zeigt die Skulptur dem Betrachter unterschiedliche und überraschende Ansichten. Einerseits bilden Glas und Hecke einen nahezu geschlossenen Kreis, andererseits ruft das verspiegelte Glas beim Betrachter die Illusion hervor, als setze sich der auf das Objekt zuführende Weg im Innern fort: Moderne Skulptur als Vexierbild, das zum Nachdenken über die eigene "Ansicht" anregt.
Dan Graham studierte Philosophie an der Columbia Universität in New York. Neben seiner künstlerischen Tätigkeit trat er als Kunsttheoretiker in Erscheinung. In seinen Arbeiten thematisiert er die Beziehung zwischen dem Individuum und der Umwelt. Er nahm zwischen 1972 und 1997 an der documenta 5, 6, 7, 9 und 10 in Kassel teil und gehört zu den einflussreichen Bildhauern und Konzeptkünstlern seiner Generation.
"Two Way Mirror / Hedge Arabesque" is one of Graham’s characteristic freestanding outdoor pavilions, here dissected by a high hedge in yew. The two-way mirror has a unique optical property: one side is transparent, the other reflects light. By assembling the glass plates so as to multiply the angles of refraction and overlapping of images, the artist captivates the visitors with a kaleidoscopic game of mirrors. Movements across space, inner feelings, conditions of light and transformations of the surrounding landscape constantly change our vision. The pavilions are conceived as places for people to meet, have fun, engage in conversations, relax or meditate, open to everybody. "My work is always about how viewers see themselves," says Graham. The arabesque is the decorative style typical of Islamic art, consisting of floral and vegetal motifs woven seamlessly. Graham’s investigations have always focused on the mutual relations between environment, art, architecture and audience. His first pavilions from the early Eighties were a result of the artist’s interest in landscape architecture and the public function of gazebos and belvederes. In his essay "Garden as Theater as Museum" (1988), Graham interprets Renaissance gardens as the first museums of Western history. Hence the choice to locate "Two Way Mirror / Hedge Arabesque" in the Valley of Rhododendrons of Oasi Zegna, renowned for its spectacular spring bloom. Created in the Sixties by the great Florentine landscape architect Pietro Porcinai, this area has been recently restructured by Paolo Pejrone, another master of Italian garden architecture.
Daniel "Dan" Graham (born March 31, 1942) is an American artist, writer, and curator. Graham grew up in New Jersey. In 1964 he began directing the John Daniels Gallery in New York, where he put on Sol LeWitt's first one-man show, and in groups shows, exhibited works ofDonald Judd, Dan Flavin and Robert Smithson. Like these artists, Graham considered himself a writer-artist, publishing essays and reviews on rock music, Dwight D. Eisenhower's paintings, and Dean Martin's television show. His earliest work dealt with the magazine page, predating but often associated with Conceptual art. His work often focuses on cultural phenomena, and incorporates photography, video, performance art, glass and mirror structures. He lives and works in New York.
Dan Graham’s artworks are said to blur the line between sculpture and architecture. Since the 1980s, Graham has been working on an ongoing series of freestanding, sculptural objects called pavilions. Graham's popularity has grown since he started his walk-in pavilions and he has received commissions all over the world. His pavilions are steel and glass sculptures which create a different space which disorients the viewer from his or her usual surroundings or knowledge of space. They are made of a few huge panes of glass or mirror, or of half-mirrored glass that is both reflective and transparent. Wooden lattice and steel are other materials most commonly used in his work.
The MIT Art Center calls his pavilions rigorously conceptual, uniquely beautiful, and insistently public. The pavilions create a unique experience for the viewer. His pavilions are created for the public experience. His pavilions combine architecture and art. Dan Graham’s pavilion works have been compared to Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sjima’s work on the Kanazawa Museum. The glass wall of the structure reflects and distorts light much like Grahams sculptures. The layered, but simplistic quality is said to be very much like Graham's. The structures are similar in their study of space and light.
In 1981, Graham started work on a decade long project in New York City. The work Two-Way Mirror Cylinder Inside Cube and Video Salon was part of the Rooftop Urban Park Project. Graham worked on the piece in collaboration with architects Mojdeh Baratloo and Clifton Balch. This transparent and reflective pavilion transformed the roof of 548 West 22nd Street into a rooftop park. The pavilion captures the surrounding landscape and changes of light creating an intense visual effect with the sky. The Two-Way Mirror Cylinder Inside Cube and Video Salon has become one of his most well-known works throughout his art career.
After numerous commissions in Europe, the Children’s Pavilion (1988–93) was actually the first piece Graham was commissioned to do in the United States. A collaboration with Jeff Wall, the pavilion is a very conceptual piece relating to the children of the nation. It is a circular shaped room with an oculus that is both transparent and reflective at the top, so the viewers on the outside of the building could look inside as well. Wall's nine circular framed photographs of children belonging to many nationalities and ethnic backgrounds surround the room. Each child is shown half-length and viewed from below against the background of a sky. In each image Wall chooses a different sky. In 1991, the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art attempted to realise the pavilion on Rotterdam's Ommoord district; the plan was eventually abandoned in 1994. Related works include Children's Pavilion (Chambre d'Amis) (1986), Skateboard Pavilion (1989), and Funhouse for the Children of Saint-Janslein (1997–99).
For a temporary installation in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden is, Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout (2014) is a collaboration with the Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt. The pavilion consists of an S-shaped curve of slightly reflective glass, bookended by two parallel ivy hedgerows. Later, Graham worked with designer Phoebe Philo to create an S-shaped steel-and-glass pavilion in which to show her spring/summer 2017 collection.
One of the most important American artists of his generation, Dan Graham first emerged in the 1960s, alongside artists such as Dan Flavin and Sol LeWitt, as an influential pioneer of Conceptual Art and performance-related Video Art. His multi-disciplinary practice – which incorporates installation, pavilions, sculpture, photography, conceptual projects, architectural models, video and performance – has proven groundbreaking for the development of conceptual art over the last 40 years. During this period, Graham has developed a diverse practice that refuses to be defined as contemporary art and instead aligns itself with popular culture. His work is informed by a social awareness, often working with hybrids that oscillate between quasi-functional spaces and installations.
Graham has designed glass, steel and mirror pavilions since the late 1970s, which bridge the divide between Minimalist sculpture and social environment. These works investigate the complex relationship between the art object and its viewer, providing a cross section of the diversity of his practice and highlighting the artist’s unique interaction with his audience through his projects. Graham’s pavilions are created on a human scale; the two-way mirrored glass allowed viewers watching the film to see themselves as they are invited to lounge on the floor, whilst visitors standing outside of the structure can observe the people lounging inside, implicating the spectator as part of the structure and reversing the roles of subject and object.
Dan Graham is a highly influential figure in the field of contemporary art, both as a practitioner of conceptual art and as a well-versed art critic and theorist. His oeuvre spans over 40 years and he is considered the 'guru' of artists' pavilions having interrogated the concept since the 1970s. Graham's work questions the relationship between people and architecture and the psychological effects it has on us.