Sur Place is a selection of Fortis Bank’s artistic and historical holdings in the Netherlands. It was published as the catalogue to the exhibition of the same name, which has been borrowed from a video installation by Job Koelewijn in which a racing cyclist is shown balancing stationary in what is known in the sport as a track stand. ‘Sur place’ is the French term used for this in Dutch. The track stand is an image with which Fortis is happy to be associated: it is a moment of totally concentrated stasis before proceeding full of energy to the next stage of development and globalization.
On the outside of the book the first thing to strike one is the screenprinted flower motif on the fore-edge. This is the kind of thing we have seen before from designer Irma Boom. Here she creates a nice contrast with the businesslike vertical bars on the front and back covers, representing the Fortis corporate colours. The effect is that the cover harmonizes amazingly well with the bank’s kaleidoscopic collection of artworks, many thousands of paintings and objects that have more or less accidentally come into its possession through mergers, takeovers and purchases.
Another striking feature of the cover is the alternation of glossy UV varnish and matt laminate, with the title and back cover text in blind debossing. The book’s boards are only a millimetre larger than the block, another unusual feature and a fine example of what the binders, Boekbinderij Van Waarden, are capable of. That the headband had to be sacrificed is something we can live with. Besides, the ribbon bookmark bearing the text ‘Getting you there’ is ample compensation.