Jan Dibbets

Perspective (1983-1991, photo series)
Koopmans Building

Jan Dibbets - Perspectief

Starting in 2002, the walls of the entrance to Koopmans Building are adorned with the Ten Cupolas series by Dutch artist Jan Dibbets (1941). These include photographs of the cupolas of the Pantheon in Rome, the Dublin Court of Justice, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Round Lutheran Church in Amsterdam, and St. John's in Oudenbosch, among others. Buildings from both the sacred and the profane.

The series—created between 1983 and 1991—was purchased by the university Art Committee at the time because of the role of perspective; the view of the unknown, of a higher world, which plays a central role in the design of almost all the domes. A good perspective requires a certain distance and also a point of view, and this is equally true in science with its theses and hypotheses. "Kritik ist eine Sache des rechten Abstands," Walter Benjamin wrote in Einbahnstrasse (1928). "Sie ist in einer Welt zuhause, wo es auf Perspektiven und Prospekte ankommt und einen Standpunkt einzunehmen nog möglich war."

Dibbets trained as a drawing teacher in Tilburg, then left for London, where he studied at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, after which he produced mainly conceptual works, in parks, gardens and on the beach. His international breakthrough came with his "perspective corrections" in 1969. In these, he used photography to make adjustments to the perception of simple forms, which he drew on floors, walls, or laid out in the grass or sand. Meticulously arranging photographs within a work, he created panoramas of vistas adapted by himself, Dutch Horizons. His work is included in collections of Harvard University Art Museums, Massachusetts, Tate Gallery, Rijksmuseum, Kröller-Müller Otterlo, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Van Abbemuseum, and Museum De Pont, Tilburg, among others.

Dibbets received important commissions abroad, such as replacing 33 stained glass windows at St. Louis Cathedral in Blois, France, in 1992. A year later, he executed Hommage à Arago for the French government, a series of 135 bronze médaillons across Paris, along the meridian of Paris, as a tribute to the French surveyor François Arago (1786-1853). Jan Dibbets was also a lecturer, at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art and at the Ateliers '63 art school in Haarlem.

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