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Light On The Lambert Collection

In Avignon, a unique foundation brings forward the works of two light artists.


Dan Flavin untitled (in memory of "sandy" Calder) 1977, David Zwirner © 2022 Stephen Flavin, ADAGP, Paris

Until October 9th 2022, the Lambert Collection in Avignon, established and overseen by visionary art-galerist Yvon Lambert, welcomes two brightly luminous exhibitions: Epiphanies by American Dan Flavin and “entre le crépuscule et le ciel” (between dusk and the sky) by Belgian Ann Veronica Janssens. A decade separates the two artists of light, who are both revered in their field.

Staged on the separate levels inside the immense and elegant floors of Hôtel de Caumont and Hôtel de Montfaucon, built in the 18th century by Jean-Baptiste Franque and brought together under the Collection Lambert’s helm, both exhibitions explore the theme of transient light and how a vast space filled with light can touch a diverse audience universally.

The story between artist Dan Flavin and Yvon Lambert goes a long way back. In the middle of the 1970s, the forward-thinking gallerist produced a series of exhibitions, which focused on new American and European avant-garde artists like Lawrence Weiner, Sol LeWitt, On Kawara, Christo, Carl Andre, Daniel Buren or Robert Ryman to name just a few. All placed Yvon Lambert at the forefront of many long-lasting art movements.

Ann Veronica Janssens Untitled (White Glitter) 2016, White Cube London © Ben Wetsoby

In 1974, Yvon Lambert held an exhibition of Dan Flavin’s work in his Paris gallery on the rue de l’Échaudé: collaborating with the artist led to an extensive correspondence between the collector and the American artist. That same year, as a sign of friendship, Dan Flavin presented Yvon Lambert with three diagrams for the realization of a lightwork he wished to dedicate to him: (for Yvon Lambert), 1974. The drawings were unfortunately lost by the gallerist’s friend but this summer exhibition wishes to reactivate the complete the story of a collaboration between the two men: inside the galleries, each artwork by Dan Flavin is dedicated to artist friends who worked alongside him in the aesthetic revolution of the 1960s and ’70s: he refers to Josef Albers, Henri Matisse, Alexander ‘Sandy’ Calder, Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, Sol LeWitt or Donald Judd. More, his light installation open new horizons in the way art is experienced, conceived, created, looked at and felt: his arrangements of fluorescent lights—that the artist explains “is what it is and it ain’t nothing else”—invent a multitude of new situations where light takes over the entire room.

On the first floor of Hôtel de Montfaucon, Belgian artist Ann Veronica Janssens was invited to create an installation that responds to Dan Flavin’s rare selection of works below. Inspired by René Char’s poetry – in which he asks himself “How to show, without betrayal, the simple things drawn between dusk and sky?” – she staged and created a series of sculptures, installations, and floor paintings, in which light is experienced in different states. Whether reflected, absorbed, captured or transformed, each situation in affects our bodies and minds, which, in turn, constantly navigate between contemplation and immersion. “Her use of light as a tool, material, science and symbol of the space that we share takes us out of our routine relationship with it”, to borrow the words of Mieke Bal. Like Dan Flavin, Ann Veronica Janssens invents the possibility of new relationships with light, a space and time.


On show at Collection Lambert till October 9th.