and/or is an essay by Els Kuijpers about graphic designer and ‘visual journalist’ Jan van Toorn. It is contained in a modest cahier with two front covers and an open spine. Behind one cover Kuijpers goes in search of the contradiction in van Toorn’s work. Behind the other, she is concerned with his recent work, the series of digital prints Still Lifes with Borrowed Furniture. The book is designed by van Toorn himself. A majority of the panel thought it was an extra asset to the selection alongside the other books on graphic design.
Its slight size was considered entirely appropriate – a retrospective work on van Toorn was published five years ago. The same slight size receives an added boost from the cover, which is made of the same paper as the book block. Rather than reaching or extending beyond the fore-edge it stops just before it.
The interior draws inspiration from van Toorn’s unmistakable handwriting. This he developed as long ago as the seventies, persisting with and further developing it with great sensitivity. The typography is constructed from such contrarieties as seemingly proportional typewriter types, underlined headlines and marginal notes that creep into the column, but which as a whole is remarkably consistent. The images, too, hang together in improbable combinations – but they work. Even where it may not be easily accessible, it remains fascinating. ‘Always delicious.’