This book started off as an assignment to document the construction of the fourth sea lock near IJmuiden, gateway to the Port of Amsterdam. When it’s finished it will be the world’s largest. However, artist Natascha Libbert lost her way in glorious fashion. The book documents – in photographs, diary entries, lists and observations – Libbert’s wrestling with the unphotographable object and the equally unfathomable phenomenon of worldwide maritime trade. She goes every which way – underwater, where divers search for unexploded bombs from the Second World War, in the nearby dunes, in bunkers, to rusting hulks, and eventually in Norway on a ship picking up a cargo of rock whose rosy colour adorns the book’s cover.
The countless loose ends, the passing associations and the frustrations of the artistic process are the building blocks for a book that as it were allows itself to be made by the colours and textures that Libbert came across on her artistic and literal journey: pinkish crushed stone, orange overalls, rust, silver-grey sea, rocks, yet more foaming seawater, concrete. The book’s underlying grid reflects the motion of ebb and flow, or the heaving waves of the ocean (which we have already encountered in Glaz). The colour combinations are magnificent, thanks not least to the attention paid to them by lithographer Marc Gijzen and book producer Jos Morree, but also to the fine picture editing by designer Michaël Snitker, who was also responsible for the choice of four different papers in white, black, grey and again pink, and the mineral quality of the metallic pink cover material (a reference to the pink crushed stone). This is a book about the many shortcuts afforded by the artistic process, but also about the beauty of chance finds and associative, or conversely analytical, links, and the ability of those involved to bring all these aspects together to create an artistic and graphic gem.