‘You like guns, don’t you?’
‘Yes, I think they’re really kind of nice,’ said Andy Warhol in the early eighties in a reference to his series of silk screen prints of revolvers. As an artist Warhol was unrivalled in his ability to sublimate the iconic value of many things, and firearms were among them.
The mystery surrounding firearms and the fascination they exert have been known for centuries in the history of both art and culture. Henk Visser’s renowned collection is a perfect example. In addition to many technical innovations, it is a superb illustration of the great beauty to be found in both general design and decoration. In the seventeenth century firearms were expensive, exclusive and exotic. Inlaid with ivory, tortoiseshell, diamonds, silver and gold, weapons acted largely as a status symbol. All this is beautifully demonstrated in the small book published on the occasion of the Bloody Beautiful exhibition held in the Army Museum in Delft.
The designers have cleverly capitalized on the status-enhancing aspects of firearms: Bloedmooi has all the characteristics of an international fashion magazine like Vogue, particularly the glossy pages with their superbly photographed images of weapons as if they were jewels, expensive watches or designer sunglasses. This is the weapon as gadget, with extra emphasis from the use of Metal FX technology. This means that in the illustrations all metal parts are printed in metallic ink. The typography with its varying type sizes and line spacing helps place this historic material in a contemporary context.