About Norm and Form
Dimension: 512 x 768 px
Images: 13 coloured
Published: July 2012
Languages: Dutch and English
English translations: Robin Kinross
Editors: Ana María Bresciani, Enrica Cavarzan
The experience of holding a book by Karel Martens is like that of holding a building.
Rare and authentic his work questions both tradition and novelty in a way that is enchanting for the eye yet overwhelming for its complexity.
Through a letter addressed to one of his students, not only does Karel Martens challenges one’s sense of awareness, but also questions basic issues inherent to the uncertainty of creation.
A series of images from his personal archive joins the letter.
Karel Martens has worked as a freelance graphic designer ever since he graduated from the Arnhem School of Art in 1966. As well as designing books and other printed items, he has designed stamps, telephone cards, signs and typographic façades for a number of buildings.
Martens has taught graphic design since 1977. He started teaching at the Arnhem School of Art, followed by a teaching position at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. From 1997 onward he has been a critic in the graphic design department at Yale University, New Haven, USA. In 1998 he and Wigger Bierma founded the pioneering school of postgraduate education within the ArtEZ, Arnhem, the Werkplaats Typografie, where he still teaches.
His work is documented in the books Karel Martens: Printed Matter/Drukwerk, Hyphen Press: 2010 and Karel Martens: Counterprint, Hyphen Press, 2004.