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A list of all items tagged with Martens


Large 041 kmpm

Printed matter / Drukwerk

Karel Martens with Jaap van Triest and Robin Kinross

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]

Out of print. Find out more
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Karel Martens: counterprint

Karel Martens with Paul Elliman & Carel Kuitenbrouwer

Now that stocks of Karel Martens: printed matter are exhausted, we have published a short book that shows some of the uncommissioned printed work of Martens, with an essay on ‘The world as a printing surface’ by Elliman. This is very much an object-book, in which the work is not so much reproduced as bodied forth.

Out of print. Find out more
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Unjustified texts: perspectives on typography

Robin Kinross

A book of writings from twenty-five years of engagement on the peripheries of both journalism and academic life, and drawn largely from small-circulation and now hard-to-access publications. Persistent themes include: editorial typography, the emergence of graphic design in Britain, emigré designers, Dutch typography, the work of critical modernist designers

Our edition of this book has now been taken over by Éditions B42. Go here.
[September 2020]

Out of print. Find out more


The nice and the good


Counterpunch is included in the exhibition ‘Mooi maar goed: graphic design in the Netherlands 1987–1998’ at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (16.01.99 to 28.02.99). This title (‘beautiful but good’) plays on the title of the ‘Goed maar mooi’ design exhibition organized by Willem Sandberg at the SM in 1949. Pieces by more than 100 designers are on display. All the usual suspects are there, and, as well as Fred Smeijers, two good friends of Hyphen Press are represented: Karel Martens (the series of standard telephone cards) and Martin Majoor (the national telephone books).

Martens book prized


The second printing of the Karel Martens: printed matter sold out in Europe within a few months in 1997. Made in the summer of 1996 for the award of the Heineken Prize for Art to Karel Martens, it was a book of that particular moment. The moment has passed, and we won’t make a further reprint. Remaining copies may still be obtainable from US bookshops. In competition with around 680 other books from all over the world, the book was awarded the highest prize – the ‘Goldene Blätter’ – at the book-design exhibition at the Leipzig Book Fair in March 1998. There will be a reprise of this event at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

An interview with Robin Kinross

Petra Cerne Oven and Robin Kinross / 2000.08.21

This interview was recorded in London on 28 May 1999, and published in Slovenian translation in the cultural magazine ‘Emzin’ (vol. 9, nos. 1–2). In making this transcription, we have made some clarifications and expansions of what was said. Read more

Architectural positions

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The faculty of architecture at the TU Delft commissioned Karel Martens to design booklets, flyers, stationery, and a poster for their series of six seminars this spring on ‘Architecture, Modernity and the Public Sphere’. Martens, working in collaboration with his daughter Aagje Martens, took up the implications of the title ‘Architectural Positions’, and the need to make flyers and booklets for the six occasions and for the series as a whole, but on a small budget. Just three printing plates were used for the colour printing, each containing two of the pieces; colour (cyan, magenta, yellow) was changed three times. In this way six different combinations or ‘positions’ were obtained. The black text is stable and clear. This patterning is enacted again in the website for the series. Not for the first time with this designer, the restrictions were embraced, with maximum effect. Read more

Martens in London


Among the speakers at the Friends of St Bride Library Conference on 15 and 16 May is Karel Martens. He will show some of his (very) short movies and then engage in unpremeditated dialogue with Robin Kinross.

‘Printed matter’ 3

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The third edition of Karel Martens’s Printed matter / Drukwerk is being printed by Thoben in Nijmegen now; sheets will then be sent to the binders, Hendricks–Lützenkirchen in Kleve, across the border in Germany. The binding will be done in batches and will take some weeks, but we should have copies at the end of this month – just in time for the Frankfurt bookfair. Read more

‘Printed matter’ 3 (update 1)


We have had many enquiries about this book. So, further to the last post here: the first batch of books has been bound and is now waiting to be put into boxes. Boxes of the right size are being made to fit a reasonable number of copies of the book. It will be some weeks from now before the books are packed and before they reach the warehouses of the various distributors.

‘Printed matter’ 3 (update 2)


We do now have copies of the new edition of Printed matter / Drukwerk in the office. North Americans, Australians, New Zealanders please note: we have distributors in your territories and copies are even now on their way there. Copies of this book have been with our Dutch distributor for some days already. UK-residing readers: you don’t need to go up the Amazon: please use your local bookshop; or we can supply to the more far-flung locations. We have made a lot of copies.

‘Printed matter’: the three editions


Clear proof that you need to get the third edition, even if you already have the second and the first: here

Martens at Monash


This month Karel Martens is at Monash University, near Melbourne, for a talk, workshops, and an exhibition of his work on Oase: here

Martens at Monash (2)


A review of the recent Martens exhibition: here

Martens on TV


A 30-minute film about Karel Martens and his work is being shown on Canvas, the Belgian TV channel, on Sunday 13 November at 20:15. Watch the trailer. [Update: now gone from the Canvas website.]

‘Wim Crouwel: mode en module’: a review

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Robin Kinross / 2013.04.05

This review of the book ‘Wim Crouwel: mode en module’, by Frederike Huygen and Hugues Boekrad, was written for and published in an issue ‘Typography papers’, now out of print.1 The Crouwel book, as it was often referred to, was issued only in a Dutch edition, which sold out quickly.2 Since then, Wim Crouwel’s renown has only increased. Most recently his work has been celebrated in a major exhibition (at the Design Museum, London, 2011, and on show from this month at The Lighthouse, Glasgow); in The Hague he has been awarded the Gerrit Noordzij Prize (2009, with an exhibition following in 2012). ‘Wim Crouwel: mode en module’ is now something of a fabled work, with large prices asked for second-hand copies. Given the continuing absence of an English-language edition of the book – which would surely be a tough translation, editorial, and production job, as well as an expensive one – this review may be worth resurrecting, as a marker of a moment in the discussion of graphic design. This version of my text is essentially as published in ‘Typography papers’, with a few updating remarks added in the notes. Read more

Frampton, Potter, Martens – and exemplification

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Robin Kinross / 2019.06.25

The latest issue of Oase, the journal of architecture, is worth getting hold of. It is devoted to a discussion Kenneth Frampton’s theory of ‘critical regionalism’, which he published first in an essay of 1983. In this special issue of Oase, the original article is reprinted in facsimile, with Dutch translation added; there is a retrospective interview with Frampton, and discussions of the critical regionalism theory by other, younger practitioner-historian-critics: the combined role that Frampton has himself exemplified in his now long career. Read more