Jan Dibbets (B. 1941)
Jan Dibbets (B. 1941)
Jan Dibbets (B. 1941)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Jan Dibbets (B. 1941)

El Born Barcelona (Diptych)

Details
Jan Dibbets (B. 1941)
El Born Barcelona (Diptych)
(i) signed, titled and dated ‘Jan Dibbets 1989 Barcelona Diptych Left Panel’ (on the reverse)
(ii) signed, titled and dated ‘Jan Dibbets 1989 Barcelona Diptych Right Panel’ (on the reverse)
watercolour, graphite and photograph on paper laid on fibreboard, in two parts
each: 49 ¼ x 49 ¼in. (125 x 125cm.)
Executed in 1989
Provenance
Galeria Joan Prats, Barcelona.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature
E. Verhagen, Jan Dibbets, The Photographic Works, Leuven 2014, p. 145 (illustrated in colour p. 146).
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Paola Saracino Fendi
Paola Saracino Fendi

Lot Essay

In El Born Barcelona, Jan Dibbets deftly examines the interplay of light, space, perspective and form. Capturing the skylight and the beamed cupola of the market in El Born, Barcelona, the diptych takes its place within the celebrated series of window compositions that lie at the heart of the artist’s practice. Combining sharp technical rigour with entrancing optical effect, these works extend his pioneering investigations into the illusory powers of photography. Beginning in the late 1960s with his seminal series of Perspective Corrections, Dibbets championed the medium as a ‘thinking’ tool: one that, like painting, could reinterpret its subjects as much as represent them. In the present work, windows – traditionally conceived as gateways to the outside world – become abstract, dematerialised structures, floating like luminous beacons within vacant diagrammatic voids. As Erik Verhagen has written, ‘they finalize a slow process of evolution which … saw the photographic material cut back to its most rudimentary, most essential level of expression’ (E. Verhagen, Jan Dibbets: The Photographic Work, Leuven 2014, p. 146).
Born in Holland, Dibbets is frequently seen as a contemporary heir to the Dutch Renaissance masters who first captured the perspectival impact of changing light conditions. Inspired by the work of Anthony Caro and Richard Long whilst studying at Central St Martin’s in London, he was among the earliest artists to exploit photography for its distortive potential, rather than for its documentary capabilities. ‘Every photograph is a lie’, he has explained. ‘It doesn’t represent anything. Therefore it is both real and abstract. Photography is very easy and very complicated at the same time … You need a key and if you are lucky enough to find one it’s like opening Pandora’s Box; tricky and fascinating and dangerous. It’s a wonderful world, photography. It’s the new painting’ (J. Dibbets, quoted in conversation with S. Boothroyd, 19 April 2013, http://thisistomorrow.info/articles/an-interview-with-jan-dibbets [accessed 31 July 2017]). His fascination with windows is, in this regard, laced with metaphorical overtones. In Dibbets’ oeuvre, photography no longer looks out onto a single reality, as if through a clear pane of glass, but instead sheds light upon its shifting, reflexive nature.

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