How do you hold the spectator’s attention in a collection of essays and conversations about the redefining and reappraisal of a museum? Even contributions by famous commentators on the arts are no guarantee. Theoretical treatises with images in a subordinate role have a tendency to decline into flat, one-dimensionally designed readers that don’t really do what they are supposed to, i.e. get the discussion going.
All the more remarkable, then, that designers Mevis & Van Deursen have succeeded here in creating a living document. With apparent ease, text columns and type sizes are made bigger or smaller depending on the amount of visual material available. The dynamic that this creates is both intriguing and stimulating, making you curious to know more and sucking you in. The alternation of four different page layouts – the impression one has is of more – each of which gives the visual material its own role, also helps to reinforce the sense of inside versus outside, the museum versus the world around it. As pragmatic as it is consistent, a fixed column height is used to create calm and regularity and ultimately deliver a highly coherent whole.
The cover of torn fragments of photographs is convincing not just as a reference to the content. The images also have an attraction of their own: this book just has to be opened.