As it’s getting darker I make my way down an appealing side street full of galleries near Piccadilly Circus. I peek through the windows as I pass, seeing lots of paintings and colours. Then I notice my destination, Alan Cristea Gallery, at the end of the street. Feeling naive and unprepared, I open the door to the exhibition. My legs are shivering from excitement, do I dare ask him some questions? I decide to give myself some time to think about it and start admiring the work on display.
Jan Dibbets is, as we’d call it in Holland, Grootmeester in de kunst (in Dutch that means, a Master in the Arts). He was a very progressive artist when he started his career in 1965 and his new work shown at the Alan Cristea Gallery is still a refreshing way to consider photography and art. He experiments with photography in a way that is completely new. He isn’t interested in portrait or different images of reality; although everything he shoots is reality, none of the pictures are edited afterwards. For example, in the series ‘Colour Studies’, he was looking for a less structured surface to get a less emphatic photographical image. He photographed the bodywork of cars and found that there is nothing else. He found himself in a place where the experiment ended.
Land Sea Horizons is a series of photo-collages of Dutch land and sea scapes, merged together as one image. Not only are the images themselves poetic and beautiful, but every different print has its own way of being framed. The white borders around the pictures are essential for the overall look of the images, this also applies to the Colour Studies Series. Looking at the images I kept wondering how he managed to reproduce the same sky colour in every single image. What made them morph together. And since this is the only question I can think of, I took a deep breath, grabbed a glass of wine and walked up to the Grootmeester himself.
Volt Café: Hello Jan would you mind if I ask you a silly question?
Jan Dibbets: Oh no, please ask.
VC: How did you manage to get the colours of the sky so similar to each other?
JD: Well I just waited for a day with great weather without any clouds.
VC: Ah, that makes sense.
Jan Dibbets | Land Sea Colour
Till 20th April 2013
Alan Cristea Gallery
31-34 Cork Street
London W1S 3NU
All images ©Jan Dibbets, courtesy the artist and Alan Cristea Galley, London
Words by Sanne Steijger
TagsAlan Cristea Gallery, Jan Dibbets, Sanne Steijger,