Born in 1928, in Long Beach, California, USA, Robert Irwin lives and works in San Diego, California.
Robert Irwin explores the relationship between light and color. More precisely, Irwin studies the ways colors generated by the fluorescent tubes spread into the space, taking into account chromatic rhythms, syncopated alternating colors, temperatures and light densities.
However, Robert Irwin’s artworks impact is not reduced to a formal apprehension of lighting systems; the entire space is impregnated with this harmony of colorful phenomena and natural light. Irwin’s light installations do not seek to provoke spectacular effects, but they remain open to the sensitivity and perception of everyone, allowing as many perceptions of the work as many eyes are there to see it. The art of Robert Irwin addresses to the viewer’s mind liberated of all prejudices. Through physical experience, the viewer’s mind hovering between feeling and intellect, between beauty and truth, can indeed open to a wider consciousness of the world.
A great theoretician, his work is inseparable from his brilliant reading of art history and modernity: according to him, we haven’t yet dealt with the fundamental questions raised by modernity. His theses are imbued with philosophy, and with a strain of phenomenology in particular that, from Husserl to Merleau-Ponty, doesn’t disassociate thought from perception and easily frees itself from presumptions and foregone conclusions in order to reexamine questions of art, science and history. The Musée d’art contemporain in Lyon published a book of his writings on aesthetics (éditions Skira).
Numerous institutions have shown Robert Irwin’s work: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington DC), the Secession (Vienna), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York),
Public collections: The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago), Berkeley Art Museum (San Francisco), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas), Denver Art Museum (Denver), The Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit), Dia Art Foundation (New York), The J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.), Ho-Am Art Museum (Seoul), Indianapolis Museum of Art, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark, Musée d’Art Contemporain (Lyon), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Paris), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York).