Kunst op Kamers (‘Art in Rooms’) is an initiative that ever since 1998 has been offering professional artists an unusual platform: a whole weekend spread over the whole of the village of De Rijp, north of Amsterdam. These biennial presentations are documented in a catalogue, the book designer who designs it being one of the artists selected. In previous years the organizers have worked with such designers as Frank Beekers, Swip Stolk and Jaap Drupsteen. For the tenth anniversary year 2008 – an occasion for a retrospective glance in the catalogue – the choice fell upon Irma Boom.
The catalogue proper contains studio photos and photos of multiples by the participating artists, and was available during the weekend of the event. Afterwards it was expanded with a second volume containing an overview of the exhibits as they eventually materialized.
For the catalogue 29 sheets of uncoated paper were folded double and then bound together in a cover using centre stitching. This produced a kind of cahier or exercise book of no fewer than 232 pages. One wonders how on earth the binder got his needle through a wadge of paper that thick. The second part is less voluminous. In neither volume has the fore-edge been trimmed, so the fore-edges form cheeky little triangles ‘just like the roofs in De Rijp’, as one member of the shadow panel observed. The whole thing is enclosed in a greyboard slip case which has holes punched out of it, providing an advance view of the navigation blobs on the cover.
The debate in the shadow panel boiled down to the question of whether the superabundance of design ideas might not have deserved a more substantial undertaking. The matter was settled by the argument that this is simply the way it is: a comparatively small-scale event that sees an opportunity to come out with a festive boxed set. Let’s not begrudge them it.