Dan Graham

Dan Graham
Born March 31, 1942 (1942-03-31) (age 69)
Urbana, Illinois
Nationality  United States
Field Installation art, Sculpture, Photography, Writing, Video art, Performance art, Education, Art critic
Works Performer/Audience/Mirror, Rock My Religion, Two-way Mirror Cylinder Inside Cube, Don't Trust Anyone Over 30, Yin/Yang
Two-Way Mirror Punched Steel Hedge Labyrinth. Family in a box, Minneapolis photo by Wendy Seltzer

Dan Graham (born March 31, 1942), is a conceptual artist now working out of New York City. He is an influential figure in the field of contemporary art, both a practitioner of conceptual art and an art critic and theorist. His art career began in 1964 when he moved to New York and opened the John Daniels Gallery. Graham’s artistic talents have wide variety. His artistic fields consist of film, video, performance, photography, architectural models, and glass and mirror structure. Graham especially focuses on the relationship between his artwork and the viewer in his pieces. Graham made a name for himself in the 1980s as an architect of conceptual glass and mirrored pavilions.

Contents

Childhood and early career

Dan Graham was born in Urbana, Illinois, the son of a chemist and an educational psychologist.[1] He describes his father as abusive.[1] When he was 3, Graham moved to Winfield Park, New Jersey. He then moved to Westfield, New Jersey when he was thirteen years old where he found inspiration for his series of minimalist photographs Homes for America (1967). He had no formal education after high school and is self-educated.[1] During his teens, reading included Margaret Mead, Claude Lévi-Strauss, the literary critic Leslie Fiedler and the French Nouveau Roman writers.[1] He wanted to be a writer, loved rock music which he wrote about critically and because he couldn't afford art supplies his early art took the form of magazine "articles".[1]

Work

Graham began his art career in 1964, at the age of 22, when he founded the John Daniels Gallery in New York. He worked there until 1965, when he started creating his own conceptual pieces. During his time at the gallery, he exhibited works by minimalist artists such as Carl André, Sol LeWitt—LeWitt's first solo gallery show,[1] Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, and Dan Flavin.

In the past thirty years, Dan Graham has proved himself to be an all-encompassing artist. His wide variety of work consists of performance art, installations, video, sculpture, and photography. Few of Graham’s works have been commissioned or exhibited in the United States. In fact, the only major work commissioned in the U.S. in the last decade was the Rooftop Urban Park Project, in which he designed the piece Two-Way Mirror Cylinder Inside Cube and Video Salon (1981–1991). Some other commissions in the U.S. are Yin/Yang at MIT,[2] the labyrinth at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden,[2] and at Middlebury College, and in Madison Square Park.

Graham's work was always firmly based within conceptual art practice. Early examples were photographs and numerological sequences, often printed in magazines, for example Figurative (1965) and Schema (1966). With the latter Graham draws on the actual physical structure of the magazine in which it is printed for the content of the work itself. As such the same work changes according to its physical/structural location within the world. His early breakthrough-work however was a series of magazine-style photographs with text, Homes for America (1966–67), which counterpoints the monotonous and alienating effect of 1960's housing developments with their supposed desirability and the physical-geometry of a printed article.[3] Other works include Site Effects/Common Drugs (1966) and Detumescence (1966).

After this Graham broadens his conceptual practice development with performance, film and sculpture including Rock My Religion (1984) and Performer/Audience/Mirror (1975). His installations such as Public Space/Two Audiences (1976) or Yesterday/Today (1975) further inspired his move to the indoor and outdoor pavilions he most recently designs. His many conceptual pavilions including Two Way Mirror with Hedge Labyrinth (1989) and Two Way Mirror and Open Wood Screen Triangular Pavilion (1990) have increased his popularity as an artist.

In addition to his visual works, he has published a large array of critical and speculative writing.

Influences

In Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer's publication Pep Talk in 2009, Graham gave "Artists' and Architects' Work That Influenced Me" (in alphabetical order): Michael Asher, Larry Bell, Flavin, Itsuko Hasegawa, LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Mangold, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, Kazuo Shinohara, Michael Snow, Mies van der Rohe and Robert Venturi.[4]

Writer Brian Wallis has said that Graham’s works “displayed a profound faith in the idea of the present, [he] sought to comprehend post-war American culture through imaginative new forms of analytical investigation, facto-graphic reportage, and quasi-scientific mappings of space/time relationships.”[cite this quote] Graham's work has been influenced by the social change of the Civil Rights Movement, The Vietnam War, the Women's liberation movement as well as many other cultural changes.[citation needed] These prolific events and changes in history affected the conceptual art and minimalist movements.[citation needed]

Minimalist art stripped art down to only its fundamental and bare essentials.[citation needed] Rarely were pictorial or illustrative imagery seen in minimalist works. Minimalism focused on the experience the artwork created for the viewer.[citation needed] The artist purposefully disconnected himself from the artwork. Even in the face of a chaotic world, minimalism was a calm, cool, and stable art form. This minimalist aesthetic was seen not only in visual art but throughout the art world in literature, music, architecture, and fashion. Dan Graham exhibited a predominately minimalist aesthetic in his earlier photographs and prints. His prints of numeric sequences, words, graphs, and graphics strongly reflect his minimalist qualities.

Graham’s later works have become very conceptual. He has an extreme interest with interior and exterior space in the relational behavior of the viewer when anticipated boundaries are changed. He as been not only a participant but also a developer in the conceptual art movement. Conceptual art is more about the idea behind the work and the process of creating it than the actual finished product. The concepts behind Graham’s artworks engage the viewer in the artwork[citation needed]. His artworks explore architecture and space and the effects they have on the viewer.

Photography

Soon after he left the John Daniels Gallery, Dan Graham started a series of photographs which started in the sixties and continues into the present. These photographs question the relationship between public and private architecture and the ways in which each space affects behavior. Some of his first conceptual works dealt with different forms of printed artwork of numeric sequences. In 1965 Graham’s began shooting color photographs for his series Homes For America. All the photographs taken were of single-family homes, new shopping precincts, truck depots and roadside diners around the American suburbs. This photo series, one of the first artworks in the space of text, was published as a twopage spread in Arts Magazine. The "article" is an assembly of texts including his photographs. The photographs were also chosen for the exhibition "Projected Art" at the Finch College Museum of Art. In 1969, Graham focused on performance and film that explored the social dynamic of the audience, incorporating them into the work, leading to an 80 ft photo series, Sunset to Sunrise.[5]

Performance and film

From 1969 to 1978 Graham worked primarily with performance, film and video, focusing, for example, on the synchronization of speech and breathing patterns between the artist and his audience.

In 1970 Graham created a video titled Roll. Graham created a video in 1972 entitled Past Future Split Attention, which documented a project in which he psychologically reconstructed space and time. From 1974, with the installation/performance Present Continuous Past(s), Graham began to use two-way mirror walls in relation to real reflections and time-delayed video projections. Also in 1974, he created an installation with a series of videos called Time Delay Room. Graham created the video Performance/Audience/Mirror in 1975. The video demonstrated the relationship between the performer and the audience and subjectivity versus objectivity. He made the more popular video Rock My Religion in 1982. In 1983, he made a video called Minor Threat documenting a rock band. His love for video was taken further when he started adding videos in installations. He incorporated mirrors, windows, surveillance cameras and video projectors in them.

The video Rock My Religion (1984) explores rock music as an art form and relates it to the development of the Shaker religion in America. The low quality image of the video is said to enhance the ideas within it. The video relates Rock and Roll to contemporary culture and the Shaker religion. It finds a way to draw a parallel between a Shaker family and the off balance family of rock. He observes the changes in beliefs and superstitions in the Shaker religion since the 18th century.[6]

Another video of Grahams entitled Performer/Audience/Mirror explains the relationship between the audience and the performer. He demonstrates the relationship between subjectivity and objectivity. Graham stands in front of a mirrored wall facing the audience. He describes the audience’s actions to them then turns to face his reflection in the mirror. This subjective and then objective perception is part of what makes Dan Graham’s artwork one of a kind.[7]

Pavilions

Pavilion in Berlin, Germany

Dan Graham’s artworks are said to blur the line between sculpture and architecture. Since the 1980s, Graham has been working on an ongoing series of freestanding, sculptural objects called pavilions; they represent a hybrid between a quasi-functional space and an installation that serves to expose processes of perception and certain expectations.[8] Graham's popularity has grown since he started his walk-in pavilions and he has received commissions all over the world. His pavilions are steel and glass sculptures which create a different space which disorients the viewer from his or her usual surroundings or knowledge of space. They are made of a few huge panes of glass or mirror, or of half-mirrored glass that is both reflective and transparent.[9] Wooden lattice and steel are other materials most commonly used in his work.

The MIT Art Center calls his pavilions rigorously conceptual, uniquely beautiful, and insistently public. The pavilions create a unique experience for the viewer. His pavilions are created for the public experience. His pavilions combine architecture and art. Dan Graham’s pavilion works have been compared to Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sjima’s work on the Kanazawa Museum. The glass wall of the structure reflects and distorts light much like Grahams sculptures. The layered, but simplistic quality is said to be very much like Graham's. The structures are similar in their study of space and light.

In 1981, Graham started work on a decade long project in New York City. The work Two-Way Mirror Cylinder Inside Cube and Video Salon was part of the Rooftop Urban Park Project. Graham worked on the piece in collaboration with architects Mojdeh Baratloo and Clifton Balch. This transparent and reflective pavilion transformed the roof of 548 West 22nd Street into a rooftop park. The pavilion captures the surrounding landscape and changes of light creating an intense visual effect with the sky. The Two-Way Mirror Cylinder Inside Cube and Video Salon has become one of his most well-known works throughout his art career.

The Children’s Pavilion (1989) is a very conceptual piece relating to the children of the nation. Even after numerous commissions in Europe, the Children’s Pavilion was actually the first piece he was commissioned to do in the United States. The piece is public building by Dan Graham and Jeff Wall. The Children’s Pavilion is a circular shaped room with an oculus that is both transparent and reflective at the top. Nine circular framed photographs of children belonging to many nationalities and ethnic backgrounds surround the room. The pavilion is designed so the viewers on the outside of the building could look inside as well. Related works include Children's Pavilion (Chambre d'Amis) (1986), Skateboard Pavilion (1989), and Funhouse for the Children of Saint-Janslein (1997–99).[10]

The pavilion Girl’s Make-up Room (1997-00), which is related to projects that were created for the 1997 Skulptur Projekte Münster, is composed of two-way mirror glass with sliding doors made of perforated steel. Visitors are asked to enter the room and use make-up at a little table - the two-way mirror walls, however only produce a distorted reflection. The perforated steel walls are continuously producing changing ray patterns. Combined with the semi-mirrored glass these ray patterns create a "virtual world" that is changing with the light and is thus in a state of permanent flux.[8]

Other realized pavilions by Graham include: Crazy Spheroid (2011), DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; Kaleidoscope / Doubled (2010), La Rochelle, France; Half Cylinder/ Perforated Steel Triangular Enclosure, Kortrijk, Belgium; Two V's and 2 Half-Cylinders off-Alligned, Brussels, Belgium; One Straight Line Crossed by One Curved Line (2009) Novartis HQ, Basel, Switzerland; Half Square/ Half Crazy at Casa del Fascio, Como, Italy; From Mannerism to Rococo (2007); Homage to Vilanova Artigas (2006), the São Paulo Biennial 2006; Bisected Triangle Inside Curve, Madison Square Park, New York (2002); Waterloo Sunset (2002–2003), Hayward Gallery, London; Yin/Yang Pavilion (1997/2002), MIT, Cambridge, MA (in Steven Holl's dormitory); Two-Way Mirror / Hedge - Almost Complete Circle (2001), K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf, Germany; S-Curve for St. Gallen (2001), Hauser & Wirth Collection, St Gallen; Two Different Anamorphic Surfaces (2000), Wanås Castle, Sweden; Star of David Pavilion (1999), Tel Aviv Museum of Art[11]; Elliptical Pavilion (1995/1999), Michaelkirchstrasse, Berlin; Café Bravo (1998), Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Argonne Pavilion II (1998), Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois;Two-Way Mirror Curved Hedge Zig-Zag Labyrinth (1996), Middlebury College, Middlebury; Two-Way Mirror Triangle with One Curved Side (1996), Vågan, Norway; 2-Way Mirror and Punched Aluminum Solid Triangle (1996), originally created for the garden of the Royal Shooting Club in Copenhagen, now at the Arken Museum of Modern Art;[12] Parabolic Triangular Pavillon I (1996), Nordhorn; Two-Way Mirror Punched Steel Hedge Labyrinth (1994–1996), Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Star of David Pavillon for Schloss Buchberg (1991-1996), Gars am Kamp; Double Exposure (1995/2003), Serralves Foundation, Porto; Cylinder Bisected by Plane (1995), Benesse House Museum, Naoshima; New Labyrinth for Nantes (1992-1994), Nantes; Star of David Pavillon/Triangular Pavilion with Triangular Roof Rotated 45° for Hamburg (1989/99), Hamburg; Skateboard Pavilion (1989); Octagon for Münster (1987), Münster, Germany; Pavillion Sulpture II (1984), Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; and Rooftop Urban Park Project for Dia:Chelsea, New York (1981/91).[13]

Dan Graham Pavilions: a guide, edited by Josh Thorpe, was published in 2009 by Art Metropole in Toronto. Six Sculptures/Pavilions for Pleasure (2001), created in collaboration with Hauser & Wirth, documents six different pavilions by Graham that are in public places and have different functions.[14]

Writings

Dan Graham has made major contributions through his writing. He works as an art critic, writing revealing articles about fellow artists. He has contributed inquisitorial ads in newspapers and writings in magazines. Most notably, from 1965 to 1969 he produced a series of texts, such as Schema (1966), which he inserted into mass-market magazines.[15] He has also written books along with other writers. Many of the books are a collection of essays about his works. The most read include Two Way Mirror Power: Selected Writings by Dan Graham on His Art, Half Square Half Crazy, and Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll since 1967.

Collaborations

For the Performa festival in 2007, Dan Graham designed the stage set made for New York based band Japanther's performance. Graham has collaborated previously with Japanther on the rock puppet opera Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty: Entertainment by Dan Graham with Tony Oursler and Other Collaborators (2004).[16]

Select artworks

  • Homes for America, 1967, John Gibson
  • Opposing Mirrors and Video Monitors on Time Delay, 1974, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.[1]
  • Yesterday/Today, 1975, Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
  • Back-Yard New Housing Project, 1978, Lisson Gallery, London.
  • Two Way Mirror with Hedge Labyrinth, 1989, Lisson Gallery.
  • Pavilion Influenced by Moon Windows, 1989.
  • Untitled sculpture, 1996, installed in Vågan, North Norway.[17]
  • Triangular Pavilion with Circular Cut-Out Variation C, 1989–2000, Lisson Gallery Swimming Pool/Fish Pond, 1997, Patrick Painter Editions.
  • Two Way Mirror with Lattice with Vines Labyrinth, 1998, Lisson Gallery.
  • Girls Make-Up Room, 1998–2000, Hauser & Wirth Zürich London.
  • Greek Meander Pavilion, Open, 2001, Lisson Gallery.
  • Bisected Triangle, Interior Curve, 2002, Madison Square Park.
  • Waterloo Sunset at the Hayward Gallery, London, 2002-03.[18]
  • Terminal 5 In 2004, the dormant Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center (now Jetblue Terminal 5) at JFK Airport) briefly hosted an art exhibition called Terminal Five,[19] curated by Rachel K. Ward[20] and featuring the work of 18 artists[21] including Dan Graham. The show featured work, lectures and temporary installations drawing inspiration from the terminal's architecture[21] — and was to run from October 1, 2004 to January 31, 2005[21] — though it closed abruptly after the building itself was vandalized during its opening gala.[20][22]

Exhibitions

Graham's first solo show was held in 1969 at the John Daniels Gallery in New York. In 1991, an exhibition of his pavilions and photographs was held at the Lisson Gallery in London. Another important exhibition featuring Graham was "Public/Private", an exhibition that traveled to four different venues. The show, which included his pavilions, architectural photographs and models, performances, and video installations, had its opening in 1994 at the Moore College of Art and Design. In 2001, a retrospective was held covering his 35-year career. The museums holding the event included the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville in Paris, Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterlo, Holland, and Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, Finland. Graham's work has also been exhibited at documentas VII, IX, and X in Kassel, and at Skulptur Projekte Münster '87 and '97. The Lisson Gallery in London has been home to many of Dan Graham’s works.

Selected solo exhibitions

  • 2011, Dan Graham: Models and Videos, Eastside Projects, Birmingham
  • 2010, Les Rencontres d'Arles festival, France.
  • 2009, Dan Graham: Beyond, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (Retrospective)[23]
  • 2009, Dan Graham: Beyond, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (Retrospective)
  • 2009, Dan Graham: Beyond, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (Retrospective)
  • 2001, Dan Graham Œuvres, 1965–2000, Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris
  • 2000, Dan Graham: Children's Day Care Center, CD-Rom, Cartoon, and Computer Screen Library Project, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
  • 1999, Dan Graham, Architekturmodell, Kunst-Werke Berlin, Berlin
  • 1997, Dan Graham, The Suburban City, Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz
  • 1995, Dan Graham, Video/Architecture/Performance, EA-Generali-Foundation, Vienna
  • 1994, Dan Graham: Public/Private, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia; List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA; Toronto, LACE - Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles
  • 1991, Pavilion Sculptures & Photographs, Lisson Gallery, London
  • 1981, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center / Institute for Art and Urban Resources, Long Island City, New York
  • 1977, Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Kennedy, Randy (June 26, 2009). "A Round Peg". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/arts/design/28kenn.html. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  2. ^ a b "Themes: Art and Cinematography: Graham". Media Art Net (www.medienkunstnetz.de). http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/themes/art_and_cinematography/graham/. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  3. ^ Dan Graham (October Files), Alex Kitnick, MIT Press, 2011. Ch.1.
  4. ^ Lehrer-Graiwer, Sarah (ed.) (2009). Dan Graham: Pep Talk. www.peptalkreader.com. http://www.peptalkreader.com/pt_03/pt_03.html. 
  5. ^ Dan Graham Tate Collection.
  6. ^ Graham, Dan (unknown date). "Film & Video: Dan Graham "Rock My Religion"". U B U W E B. http://www.ubu.com/film/graham_rock.html. Retrieved 2009-12-21. [dead link]
  7. ^ Graham, Dan (1975). "Film & Video: Dan Graham "Performer/Audience/Mirror"". U B U W E B. http://www.ubu.com/film/graham_performer.html. Retrieved 2009-12-21. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b Dan Graham: A Show for all the Children, 27 October – 22 December 2001 Hauser & Wirth, Zürich.
  9. ^ Blake Gopnik (September 3, 2009), Blake Gopnik on the Dan Graham Retrospective at N.Y.'s Whitney Washington Post
  10. ^ Dan Graham: Children's Day Care, CD-Rom, Cartoon and Computer Screen Library Project & other works for water, backyards, and children, April 5 - May 20, 2000 Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
  11. ^ Dan Graham, Star of David Pavilion (1999) Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
  12. ^ Dan Graham, 2-Way Mirror and Punched Aluminum Solid Triangle (1996), Arken Museum of Modern Art.
  13. ^ Dan Graham, March 3 - 28, 2009 Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
  14. ^ Dan Graham: A Show for all the Children, 27 October – 22 December 2001 Hauser & Wirth, Zürich.
  15. ^ Dan Graham Phaidon Publishing.
  16. ^ Dan Graham March 3–28, 2009 Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
  17. ^ "Artscape Nordland (North Norway)". Sculpture magazine, June 2004. http://www.artdesigncafe.com/Artscape-Nordland-North-Norway-Dan-Graham-library-2004. 
  18. ^ "Dan Graham: Waterloo Sunset at the Hayward Gallery, London". Sculpture magazine, April 2004. http://www.artdesigncafe.com/Dan-Graham-Waterloo-Sunset-Hayward-Gallery-London-libriary-2004. 
  19. ^ "TWA Terminal Named as One of the Nation’s Most Endangered Places". Municipal Art Society New York, February 9th, 2004. http://mas.org/twa-terminal-named-as-one-of-the-nations-most-endangered-places/. 
  20. ^ a b "A Review of a Show You Cannot See". Designobvserver.com, Tom Vanderbilt, January 14, 2005. http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=2897. 
  21. ^ a b c "Now Boarding: Destination, JFK". The Architects Newspaper, September 21, 2004. http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=098&PagePosition=5. 
  22. ^ "Art Exhibition at JFK Airport's TWA Terminal Abruptly Shut Down". Architectural Record, John E. Czarnecki,, October 11, 2004. http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=2897. 
  23. ^ "Dan Graham: Beyond". Walker Art Center. http://calendar.walkerart.org/canopy.wac?id=4669. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 

Bibliography

  • Alberro, Alexander and Graham, Dan Dan Graham - Models to Projects (Marian Goodman Gallery 1998) ISBN 0-944219-13-6
  • Alberro, Alexander, Dan Graham, and Friedrich W. Heubach. "Dan Graham: Half Square Half Crazy". Barcelona: Poligrafa, Ediciones, S.a., 2001.
  • Charre, Alain, Marc Perelman, and Marie-Paule Macdonald. "Dan Graham." Paris: Editions Dis Voir, 1995.
  • Francis, Mark, Beatriz Colomina, Birgit Pelzer, and Dan Graham. "Dan Graham." New York City: Phaidon P, Inc., 2001.
  • Graham, Dan Dan Graham Interviews, Dan Graham; (Hatje Cantz 1995) ISBN 3-89322-318-5
  • Graham, Dan, Adachiara Zevi, Brian Hatton, and Mark Pimlott. "Dan Graham: Architecture." London: Architectural Association, 1997.
  • Graham, Dan, and Adachiara Zevi. "Dan Graham: Half Square Half Crazy". New York City: Charta, 2005.
  • Graham, Dan, and Brian Wallis. "Rock My Religion: Writings and Projects" 1965-1990. Boston: MIT P, 1994.
  • Graham, Dan. "Two-Way Mirror Power." Boston: MIT P, 1999.
  • Graham, Dan, Two-Way Mirror Power: Selected Writings by Dan Graham on His Art, (MIT Press 1999) ISBN 0-262-57130-7
  • Graham, Dan, Dan Graham: Catalogue Raisonné, (Richter Verlag 2001) ISBN 3-933807-31-X
  • Graham, Dan, Valle, Pietro, Zevi, Adachiara, Dan Graham: Half Square Half Crazy (Charta 2005) ISBN 88-8158-520-0
  • Jodidio, Philip. "Architecture: Art." New York: Prestel. 86-87.
  • Simpson, Bennett and Iles, Chrissie (eds.) (2009). Dan Graham: Beyond. The MIT Press. ISBN 1933751126. 
  • Smith, Matt Dan Graham's Rock My Religion, The Nonnus Blog. 26 Mar. 2008.
  • Wallis, Brian, Rock My Religion: Writings and Projects 1965-1990 by Dan Graham, (MIT Press 1994) ISBN 0-262-57106-4

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