Is this jacket endearing or just pretentious? The panel instantly found themselves drifting into a stalemate on Opus 1. The Artist’s Beginnings, which presents research into artists’ early works and how they cast a shadow over their makers’ subsequent careers. Or is the link between an artist’s Opus 1 and the rest of his oeuvre more of a researcher’s construct?
Divided as the panel may have been in the matter of the jacket (which conceals a substantial rigid greyboard cover), when it came to the interior they were just as united. It opens with a page of nothing but a hip grid of closely spaced black dots. Talk about a contrast! Extensive use has been made of newsprint, but this is an unusual kind, thin and non-absorbent, so that the book feels as if what you have in your hands is an expensive gift of enduring value. The table of contents is conveniently laid out on the front flap. The typography of the interior, with its single ragged right column in a bold sans serif (Balance, Evert Bloemsma’s Opus 1) and agreeable leading, is outstanding.
The same goes for the image placement: never over-exuberant and always well balanced. Here again we see that unpretentious approach, effortlessly convincing the reader and spectator. We’ve seen it often enough: a mediocre jacket concealing a magnificent book. Opus 1 is just another example.