Depth of Field, volume 2, no 1 (June 2012)Erik Verhagen: The Horizon according to Jan Dibbets : an Endless Quest

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Playing a special – indeed outstanding – part in the constellation of motifs characterizing Jan Dibbets’s photographic oeuvre, the horizon line first entered his repertoire in 1969, in a context of association with the history of conceptual art. Paradoxically, however, it was this context and his representation of the horizon line that would lead Dibbets to cut free of the dogmatic iconophobia of conceptualism in a return to a more ‘pictorial’ notion of the photographic object. That the line in question addresses itself to the eye more than any other motif is symptomatic here; and it is not at all surprising that it should go on to become emblematic of Dibbets’s overtly photographic goals. This essay sets out to analyse and put into perspective the horizon line works and series the artist produced during the 1970s and has been working on afresh since 2005.