March 30, 2012

Mathieu Lommen: The Book of Books

How I wish I could visit this exhibition running through May 13 at the Special Collections department of the University of Amsterdam. 
Since I have to stay here and work I thought purchasing the catalog should be the least. And - wow - this is a statement against the e-book! The book of the printed book (Het boek van het gedrukte boek) shows more than five hundred years of Western book design. From the oldest exhibit by Nicolas Jenson, which was published in Latin in 1471, to Irma Boom's 8 cm thick "James, Jennifer, Georgina", containing 1136 reproduced postcards sent by a mother to her daughter. I'll show you my favorites, so you will understand my enthusiasm:
 (Gheraert Leeu: Dialogus creaturarum moralisatus, 1480)
(Charles Plumier & Imprimerie Royale, 1705)
(W. A. Dwiggins: Layout in Advertising, 1928)
 (Pierre Faucheux: Henri Pichette, Les épiphanies, 1948)
 (Theo van Doesburg & Käthe Steinitz: Kurt Schwitters, Die Scheuche: Märchen, 1925)
(Marie Neurath: Außen - innen: Was ist drinnen?, 1956)
(Ann & Paul Rand: Sparkle and spin: a book about words, 1957)
(Max Huber & Giovanni Pintori: Adriano Olivetti et al., Olivetti 1908-1958)
(Willy Fleckhaus, edition Suhrkamp, since 1963)
(Irma Boom: James, Jennifer, Georgina, 2010)
Isn't it great? The book of books is published by Amsterdam University Press/Lannoo, an English edition is launched by Thames & Hudson, a German by DuMont. The author Mathieu Lommen is curator of graphic design at the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam, lecturer at the University of Amsterdam and editor of the journal Quaerendo.