Land Sea Colour is a new a solo exhibition of works by Dutch artist Jan Dibbets at the The Alan Cristea Gallery from 21 March – 20 April 2013. The exhibition will focus on two very distinct and enduring aspects of his work, namely the Land-Sea Horizons andColour Studies, and will be held across both of the gallery’s Cork Street spaces. The show will be accompanied by a catalogue written by Brian Wallis, Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, New York, and co-author of the recent Phaidon publication Land and Environmental Art.
A major component of Dibbets’ early explorations used multiple photographic images of fragments of land and seascapes collaged together to create illusory ‘horizons’; this subject has remained at the heart of much of his work to the present day and has its roots in the seminal 1973 Comet series. Examples of this small body of ground-breaking installations are held in the collections of the Stedlijk Museum, Amsterdam and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and were exhibited at MoMA, New York in 1974.
The exhibition at the Alan Cristea Gallery will contain one of these rare early pieces, never before exhibited in the UK outside of a museum. This will be shown alongside more recent related works including two portfolios of photographs in which, by tilting his camera a few degrees at a time to create an incline, Dibbets presents images of land and sea pitched at different horizon levels, from 0 degrees to 135 degrees. In doing so he emphasizes the role of the horizon as both the structuring principle of the photograph and as a subjective element, vulnerable to manipulation by the artist. These will be accompanied by an entirely new body of work entitledLand-Sea Horizons, a series of photo-collages, each of which juxtaposes a land and a sea horizon, morphing them into a single image.
Dibbets’ Colour Studies are in direct and stark contrast to the constructed forms and lines of the Horizons. Initiated in 1975, this work removes both the traditional ‘subject’ and formal structure from the photographic image. Whilst they feature details from the polished metalwork of car bodies, they have nothing to do per se with the vehicles – they are Dibbets’ own abstractions, at once both purely photographic and painterly. These are not documentary studies nor are they chromatic reproductions of another object’s colour, but rather they are an examination into the very surface and colour properties of the photographic image itself. Once printed, the cars and their colour become almost irrelevant – it is the photographs themselves which are the subject.