News — 11 Aug 2004

In the annual exhibition for the Municipal Art Acquisitions this year the spotlight is on the discipline of graphic design. The title of the exhibition, ‘Mark’, is English for a sign or signature, and speaks volumes when it comes to the point of departure that the jury took in making its selection from the submissions. It was not so much utility and functionality, in the time-honoured meaning of these words, that was central, but rather autonomy and the personal, almost artistic hallmark that designers presently strive for.  

Eighty-four designers responded to the call to submit work for the purchase round in graphic design. The only fixed criteria for participation was that somewhere in the designer’s oeuvre there had to have been at least one Amsterdam client. In April, May and June, 2004, the jury met to evaluate the work and select the nominees. The jury was comprised of Gerald van der Kaap (visual artist), Karel Martens and Luna Maurer (graphic designers), Macha Roesink (Director, Pavilions Museum, Almere) and Marten Jongema (curator of graphic design, Stedelijk Museum). The majority of the 84 entrants showed the variety and high quality of Dutch graphic design. This is not limited to paper; the computer screen, video and animation films and T-shirts also are part of the designer’s terrain. It was the jury’s task to analyse the quality and diversity and thus arrive at a selection that would provide an interesting point of departure for an exhibition. Twenty entrants made it through.

The final selection falls roughly into three categories: imaginative power in relation to the traditional function of graphic design; imaginative power in relation to personal identity and authenticity; and third, imaginative power in relation to mentality and engagement. (There were also combinations of the three.) In addition, the jury observed a shift in the relation between the client and graphic designer. It was striking that there were increasing numbers of designers who were developing initiatives in which they are their own client. The most familiar example is undoubtedly Re-Magazine by Jop van Bennekom, but Will Holder and Stuart Bailey, among others, also produce their own organs. The duo Ben Laloua and Didier Pascal produced a completely autonomous poster project for La Cinca in Amsterdam, while the work of Persijn Broersen, Leo van Munster and the duo Machine borders on autonomous art in general (until 2001 the latter two formed the design collective DEPT).

The jury has chosen to support this development, because in many cases this has led to unexpected and exceptional results. The use of various media plays a large role in ‘Mark’.

The exhibition also offered the possibility of awarding a number of commissions. The catalogue by Hansje van Halem and the exhibition design by EventArchitecture/Herman Verkerk are essential components of the show. The graphic designers Persijn Broersen, Joes Koppers and Roel Wouters were asked to make a contribution as chroniclers of present-day graphic design. Machine and Leo van Munster have prepared designs for the public space at and around the SMCS building.

The exhibition poster (‘Mark me’) is by Jop van Bennekom and the TV spot, which has been shown on AT5 and other broadcasters, is by Mevis and Van Deursen. Apart from this, several more activities will be developed in connection with SMCS on 11.


In addition to an introduction and essay by Marten Jongema, the catalogue accompanying ‘Mark’ contains illustrations of all the works being shown and CV’s for the exhibitors.

352 pages / Dutch/English / Price +/- € 20.

Press information

Preview September 2, 2004, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Visual material:

Information: or 020-5732.656





The following graphic designers are represented in ‘Mark’:


Stuart Bailey (York, UK, 1973), Ben Laloua/Didier Pascal (Rotterdam/Paris), Jop van Bennekom (Scherpenzeel, 1970), Julia Born (Zurich, 1975), Persijn Broersen (Delft, 1974), Thomas Buxó (Toulouse, 1968), Hansje van Halem (Enschede, 1978), Will Holder (Welwyn Garden City, England, 1969), Joes Koppers (Sittard, 1976), Alon Levin (Ramat Gan, Israel, 1975), Harmen J. Liemburg (Lisse, 1966), Lost & Found Established 1997; editors: Julia van Mourik, Nathalie Bruys, Falke Pisano, Machine Paul du Bois-Reymond (Berlin, 1974) & Mark Klaverstijn (Amsterdam, 1973), Mevis & Van Deursen Linda van Deursen (Aardenburg, 1961) & Armand Mevis (Oirsbeek, 1963) Maureen Mooren & Daniël van der Velden Maureen Mooren (Dordrecht, 1969) & Daniël Van der Velden (Rotterdam, 1971), Leonard van Munster (Zwolle, 1972), Richard Niessen (Edam-Volendam, 1972), Esther Noyons (Utrecht, 1958), Esther de Vries (s' Gravenhage, 1974), Roel Wouters (Haarlem, 1976)