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EXHIBITION

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REVIEW

Daniel Buren At Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, Oxford, until 28 January

Unlike many pieces in galleries that claim to be site-specific, Daniel Buren's installation in the main space of Modern Art Oxford really does derive from the architecture.

Generated by the three windows at one end of the room, it consists of three rows of six aluminium frames, of the same dimensions and proportions as those in situ, suspended from the trusses of the gallery and thus reiterating its structural rhythm. The only difference is that each row of frames has its own arrangement of coloured panes (blue, orange, pink, red, yellow, plus a pane of Buren's trademark stripes), though the underlying logic is soon apparent (see picture).

But while Buren's response, using off-the-shelf components, is simple and systematic, perceptually it's surprisingly complex. Especially in oblique views the space is highly layered, with its mix of the transparent and translucent, its recessed grids, and its sudden metamorphoses, as one colour overlaps another to create a third. When you peer through a single pane, the room is drenched in its hue. Then the sun comes out and turns the wall into a kaleidoscope, projecting colours on to it like stained glass in a church.

Buren's other exhibits, neatly tailored to their settings, explore similar themes. It all goes to show what a trip to the nearest hardware store can do, at least when allied to a shrewd reading of space.

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