Big Comet 3°-60° Sky-Land-Sky, 1973

Basel 2017
Big Comet 3°-60° Sky-Land-Sky

Konrad Fischer Galerie, Peter Freeman, Inc.

color photographs in 20 parts
Jan Dibbets, a pioneer of conceptual art, trained as a painter but began experimenting with photography early on in his career in the 1960s. To him, photographs are raw material, like any other medium. Dibbets’s essential ideas about nature, photography, and abstraction are evident in his well-known Comet works – arc-shaped constructions of individually-framed photographic prints of the horizon. Their configuration was realized according to mathematical equations applied by Dibbets in the ordering and sizing of each print. There are 14 Comet works in three sizes, each unique and completed in 1973. The current example belongs to the largest-scale group, of which there are five in total; the other four are in public or museum collections. The series marked a seminal moment in Dibbets’s thinking about photographic representation of the representable world on one hand, and, on the other, the physical manipulation and reorganization of that reality. The space between what is known and what is perceived has since remained at the core of his work; the horizon itself is an apt metaphor for the artist’s central project – a phenomenon both real and imagined.