Nicholas de Klerk is drawn into the RIBA’s latest exhibition on perspective
This installation and exhibition on perspective is set out in the RIBA’s ground-floor Architecture Gallery. It aims to explore the use of perspective as a tool of representation, or perhaps more accurately a system of knowledge, and does this through the use of a selection of drawings from the RIBA Collection and from Drawing Matter, maquettes and an immersive video installation.
The entry on John Smythson’s 1610 drawing for an unexecuted fountain design for Bolsover Castle in the exhibition catalogue makes the following assertion: “Any work in perspective implies its own horizon.” This point subtly asserts the intellectual framework underpinning the show, drawing on Erwin Panofsky’s 1924 treatise On Perspective as Symbolic Form. Panofsky sets out the difference between orthographic or geometric and perspectival projection: points in geometric space being “mere determinants of position” which possess no information outside of this relation. Perspective, explained by Dürer’s Durchsehung (seeing through), adds another layer of information about the position from which these points are perceived.
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