Zeitschrift für Ästhetik Und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft (Special issue / Sonderheft 19):313-330 (2021)

Vangelis Giannakakis
Goethe University Frankfurt
Modern aesthetic Minimalism is neither a flight to abstract spirituality, nor an extracting process of a primordial essence. It is concerned, rather, with the aesthetic object as pure refiguration and the production of “concrete universality”, of form as content and possibility of itself. This becomes especially apparent in the Minimalism of the 1960s. The main focus of this paper will be on Dan Flavin’s luminous minimalism. The latter is characterised by a style that, though simple in appearance, introduced a higher level of complexity with regard to the relation between form and matter, concept and thing, in artistic production. Neither sculptures nor paintings, Flavin’s works fall right under Donald Judd’s category of “specific objects”. Nevertheless, his luminous creations are not particularly specific, just as they are not strictly speaking objects. Their main material – colour-light – is as intangible and diffuse, as its origin – the fluorescent lamp – is commonplace and artificial. Drawing on such influential theorists of art as Theodor W. Adorno, Peter Bürger, Clement Greenberg and Jacques Rancière, this paper studies the lessons that philosophy can learn from Flavin's light minimalism, most notably in relation to the notions of aesthetic materiality and sublimation.
Keywords Aesthetics  Dan Flavin  Theodor W. Adorno  Minimalism  Critical Theory
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