Abstract art may have long ceased to be controversial, but the abstract tradition is alive and susceptible of reinvigoration. Proof of this is provided by Steven Aalders, who in 2010 was given an exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, in one of the wonderful Berlage rooms. There his work was on display surrounded by that of such partners in crime as Mondrian, Lohse, Judd, Schoonhoven and Dekkers. This prestigious presentation also gave rise to this retrospective book of Aalders’s work.
It has turned out to be an impressive volume. The basic tone is the Aalders reproduction, given plenty of space on a slightly translucent page of snowy whiteness and seemingly brought closer to the spectator by a shadow. In between, the components. First there is an overview of the artist’s work on twenty pages, rendering captions to the reproductions superfluous since elsewhere in the book a reference to this overview is all that is required. The thumbnails in the overview also have little shadows.
Further on in the book there are a number of articles that invite reading. Notes and illustrations to these articles are hidden away in fold-outs, and fold-outs are also used throughout the book – with the exception of the first eighty pages – for details and exhibition photos. Not having fold-outs at the beginning of the book means that it is possible to use screen printing on the book block and in that way make the work illustrated on the cover run on to the edges. The book lies open nicely and there is no stiffness in the spine.