Jan Dibbets

24 Feb - 17 June 2001
work in collection

Since its opening in 1992, De Pont has shown the work of Jan Dibbets on a fairly permanent basis. The monumental Four Windows (1991) and the three-part San Casciano Ceiling (1983-1984) have become distinguishing highlights in the presentation. For the first time, De Pont is now organizing an exhibition of the work of Jan Dibbets. The last extensive exhibition of his work in the Netherlands was held at the Van Abbemuseum in 1988. A selection from several series of works from the period 1990-2000 has been made for the exhibition at De Pont. In recent years Dibbets has produced a great number of monumental paintings in which he has further developed the motif of a photographed round window. One of these series came about in Tilburg. For two other series, Dibbets photographed windows in Amsterdam and in the town of Tollebeek in the Northeast Polder. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue containing an essay by the young French art historian Erik Verhagen, who recently obtained his doctorate with a dissertation on the work of Dibbets.

Several years ago a new work by Jan Dibbets was presented in Tilburg. The location was a surprising one: the regional headquarters for the police of Middle and West Brabant, located on the Ringbaan West. Here the artist Jan Dibbets (Weert 1941) had installed his new work of art, consisting of three photographs of round windows. These windows were from the former police headquarters ‘Noordhoekring’ and from the church in Raamsdonk. Due to the fact that Dibbets has photographed the windows from a diagonal perspective, the round openings become distorted into oval shapes. He has then cut these out of their original contexts and placed them, as independent forms, on two glass walls and on a wall in the police headquarters. This apparently simple intervention has given rise to an intriguing work.

In reference to this, he himself has said, “I wanted to depict round windows for this new building, where everything is so perpendicular. The fact that the old building had round windows was a gift from heaven for me. At the same time, it serves as a connection between the old and the new building. First of all, the perspective of the depicted windows is not at all the perspective of the window at which we are looking. Secondly, there is the effect that where there is transparency, there is obstruction. And where there is obstruction, there is transparency. In this artwork the depicted window is not transparent (but the glass wall is transparent). This has given rise to the reversal which is the idea behind this work. It gives a different meaning to the glass wall. Suddenly the act of seeing is no longer unambiguous.