Since his career began in the mid-sixties, the video artist and sculptor, Dan Graham (Urbana, United States, 1942) has also been a gallery owner, art critic, graphic designer, filmmaker and performer. Through a personal artistic language, this artist uses his sculptures and videos to delve into social and aesthetic codes. In this way a large part of his production focuses on the reflection of perceptual and philosophical structures put into play by spectators when observing his works, this is why his work has been defined in line with what has been called Art Behaviour. The works selected for this exhibition at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia clearly demonstrate the artist's evolution over two decades and expose the essential concepts of his work which are closely related to a psycho-social approach to the perception of space.
In 1969, the year of his first solo exhibition, Graham makes his first performances. At this early stage his interest is the relationship between body movements and space or with a second subject. This progressively leads his approach towards a series of actions based on the verbalisation of observations on behaviour and identity of the self and / or others’ identity, as well as a growing involvement of the public.
The video installation, Present, Continuous, Past(s) (1974), produced again for this exhibition, represents a further step in the artist’s investigations. A CCTV (Closed Circuit T.V.) is available in a room with mirrored walls and projects the images collected from inside the room itself. This closed circuit projects with a planned delay, so that the viewer can see in the mirrors their immediate past at the same time as their present. Different time sequences come together in one room.
The video installations Dan Graham makes from 1974 are focused on creating action spaces where the public participates. A year later, in the piece Two Viewing Rooms, he incorporates one of the materials which he will continue to work with frequently: the two-way mirror, reflective on one side and transparent on the other. This element gives rise to one of the most recognisable structures in this artist’s style, the Pavilions, which he starts working on in 1978. These spaces, created to be displayed outside, function both as sculptures and architectural enclosures which eventually have various uses, such as a shelter, greenhouse or children's playroom. For this exhibition, one of these has been installed in the Sabatini Garden at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía; it allows visitors to observe themselves through their reflections as object and subject at the same time and pontificate the changing notions of interior and exterior, urban and natural, individual and collective.