Dhaka Pavilion

Dan Graham

Urbana, Illinois, USA, 1942 - New York, USA, 2022
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
    Matt stainless steel and glass
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  • Descriptive technique: 
    It was originally a commission for the Julián de Naval farm in Villanueva de la Vera, Cáceres
  • Dimensions: 
    241 x 480 x 526 cm
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  • Entry date: 
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  • Long-term loan of Fundación Museo Reina Sofía, 2016 (Donated by Juan Várez in honour of his parents, José Luis and Marimi)

Dhaka Pavilion is a site-specific commission Dan Graham received in November 2007 for the San Julián de Naval farm in Villanueva de la Vera, Cáceres. In April 2008, after a visit to the property, Graham began the work, which he installed the following year. In 2018, it was transported to the garden of the Sabatini Building’s Cloister, surrounded by decorative olive trees which bestow a different permeability on the piece, conceived initially for a space within a rural landscape. As the artist highlighted, “each pavilion is permeable and appears before spectators in a different way each time, inside, outside and in the immediate natural environment”.  
The pavilion has a floor which evokes the idea of a hallway or corridor, in which one of the sides is organised in an orthogonal floor and a raised red metal structure, also orthogonal, while the opposite side plays with concave and convex, allowing the landscape and the structure of the pavilion to be unified. The use of semi-reflective and semi-transparent glass ensures a mirror game which seeks to connect the construction with the experience of nature.
Since his early experiences with architecture in the 1970s, Graham responded to the neutrality of Minimalism by working with the effects of space and its perception on the behaviour of the viewer, and with his pavilions installed in natural, public spaces he was able to, without renouncing the formal rigour of the minimal, break from their political and social asepsis. Graham, also with a noteworthy literary output, referred to his intention when approaching the typology of the pavilion: “The interior-exterior relationship, resulting from the perceptive properties of the material that makes up the pavilion, is enlivened by a perpetual flow, tied to the clouds, the sun and the shadows of surrounding trees. These alterations also affect at once the spectator’s perception, his own and that of other spectators, and the landscape, materials and structure of the sculpture pavilion”.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio