Dan Graham: Models and beyond

00:04:07 De Pont museum
The American artist Dan Graham is particularly known for his Pavilions, the first of which were produced during the early 1980s. In this video he explains his vision behind these installations.

Graham's Pavilions are architectural constructions of glass and metal, a hybrid form of visual art and architecture.

Eight years ago, De Pont purchased one of his Pavilions. For the exhibition Models and Beyond, the museum has asked the artist to design, specifically for the main space, a new and ambitious pavilion. This acquisition will be shown in the midst of a broad selection of Graham's architectural models, photographs and video works dating from 1966 to the present. The whole aims to provide an impressive survey of this conceptual artist's versatile body of work, which continues to influence artists as well as architects.

Graham's pavilions touch on both visual art and architecture, without corresponding to either of these. In this way he gives himself the latitude to explore the two disciplines in a critical manner. His use of two-way mirror glass is a striking example of this. It has the quality of reflecting light as a mirror does, but from the other side it remains transparent. This is why it is widely used for industrial buildings: from the late 1970s onward, urban development became increasingly dominated by the mirrored facades of imposing skyscrapers. These monuments of capitalism blended in with their surroundings, but at the same time their reflective surface functioned as an impenetrable shield, which provided protection from the eyes of the outsider. 

Over a period of roughly thirty years, Graham has experimented with straight, triangular, circular and meandering shapes for his pavilions; and aside from using glass with varying degrees of transparency and reflection, he has also worked with materials such as perforated steel, wood and shrubs to devise pavilions that are sometimes literally illusory. 

The exhibition comprises about fifteen architectural models, both realized and unrealized, which do justice to this great diversity. Frequently these models are accompanied by a video of the realized pavilion, in which the situation and varying light conditions are such an important part of the experience.

Dan Graham
Models and Beyond
1 February - 25 May 2014

Video credits

  • Video by Zeus Hoenderop
  • Commissioned by De Pont Museum
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