HERBERT FOUNDATION, Ghent

JAN DIBBETS: TV AS A FIREPLACE, 1968

c/o Pictoright Amsterdam/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
MAKERS
Jan Dibbets –
Jan Dibbets was commissioned to make ’TV as a Fireplace’ by Gerry Schum who founded the Television Gallery in Berlin. Produced in 1968, the work was aired a year later, throughout the last week of December. The wood blocks were lit on the first evening and each night viewers watched the fire gradually gather strength, before fading and finally dying out, leaving nothing but glowing embers. Dibbets’ work makes us aware that during the ‘60s, the TV set had replaced the hearth as the focal point of the living room. Before the advent of television, families had gathered around the fireplace and entertained themselves by telling stories. By broadcasting images of a fire, Dibbets transported the passive TV-watching families sitting on the living room couch back to the pre-TV era. ‘TV as a Fireplace’ was screened in color but as the majority of households in the ‘60s had only black and white sets, most people watched it in black and white. Today, of course, the work is presented in color.