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Printed matter / Drukwerk

Karel Martens with Jaap van Triest and Robin Kinross

  • ISBN


  • extent

    208 pp

  • binding

    flapped paperback

  • dimensions

    232 x 170 mm

  • illustrations


The work of Karel Martens occupies an intriguing place in the present European art-and-design landscape. Martens can be placed in the tradition of Dutch modernism – in the line of figures such as Piet Zwart, H.N. Werkman, Willem Sandberg. Yet he maintains some distance from the main developments of our time: from both the practices of routinized modernism and of the facile reactions against this. His work is both personal and experimental. At the same time, it is publicly answerable. Over the now 50 years of his practice, Martens has been prolific as a designer of books. He has also made contributions in a wide range of design commissions, including stamps, coins, signs on buildings. Intimately connected with this design work has been his practice as an artist. This started with geometric and kinetic constructions, and was later developed in work with the very material of paper; more recently he has been making relief prints from found industrial artefacts. This book looks for new ways to show and discuss the work of a designer and artist, and is offered in the same spirit of experiment and dialogue that characterizes the work it presents.

This book has now been taken over by Roma Publications and is published in a fourth edition as ‘Re-printed matter’. Go here. [September 2019]


Heineken Prize jury report (1996) / Jury Heineken Prijs (1996)

Robin Kinross:
Karel Martens: work in progress / Karel Martens: werk in uitvoering

Karel Martens:
50 years of work / 50 jaar werk

Karel Martens:
What design means for me / Wat vormgeving voor mij betekent

Koosje Sierman:
Martens’s capture of the margin / Martens’ verovering van de marge

Hugues C. Boekraad
Karel Martens: meticulous and personal / Karel Martens: zorgvuldig en persoonlijk

Karel Martens and education / Karel Martens en onderwijs
(e-mail responses to questions by Michael Cina, Baltimore / e-mail antwoorden op vragen van Michael Cina, Baltimore)

Jaap van Triest:
Book keeping / Uit de boeken

Bibliography / Literatuur


The first edition of Printed matter was published on the occasion of the award to Karel Martens of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art: it rapidly sold out and was reprinted. A second edition was published in 2001, with similar success. After that edition had gone out of print, copies became rare commodities. This third edition brings the survey of Martens’s work to 2010 (it thus marks fifty years of practice), and adds an interview with him. We do not intend to reprint or make further editions of the book. (For an outline history of the successive printings and editions of this work, see here.)