13. Remco van Bladel

description

The entire 'Pushing Scores' project was set up in cooperation with Remco van Bladel. This encompasses the conceptualisation, the funding and the execution.


practice

Remco van Bladel (Amersfoort, 1977) is a graphic designer based in Amsterdam. His studio focuses on editorial book design, curatorial projects, institutional identities, interactive applications and websites. Remco is co-founder of 'WdW Review' (Witte de With, Rotterdam), Dutch art book publisher Onomatopee and teaches graphic design at ArtEZ University of the Arts, Arnhem. He designed the publication and identity of the 'Aalto Natives' at the Finnish Pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennale. For the 2015 edition of the Venice Biennale, the studio was responsible for the design of the publication and identity of 'to be all ways to be', the exhibition by herman de vries for the Dutch Pavilion. His clients include artists like Navid Nuur, Jonas Staal, Justin Bennett, Esther Tielemans, Gert-Jan Prins and Erik van Lieshout, alongside institutions like Witte de With, e-flux, New World Summit, Extra City Kunsthal, Arts Writers Grant Program, Art Agenda, Council, Cobra Museum and STEIM: studio for electro-instrumental music. The studio also takes care of the graphic design of the art magazine Metropolis M and its accompanying website.

Remco van Bladel grew up in the record store of his father. The relation between the sound on the records and the visuals on the sleeves and packaging has a strong influence on his current practice, especially in relation to the strategy and concepts he creates for graphic design. In his 2002 essay 'Musical Theories in Graphic Design', Bladel discussed the subject of graphic notation within a broader field of theory formation in contemporary music. In it he transposed compositional methodologies of the avant-gardists in the twentieth century to graphic design methodologies, for instance, by understanding Steve Reich's phase shifting technique through the lens of design. He also engaged with work from Stockhausen and Cage, working comparatively to assess differences and find similarities. Rhythm, shifts, pairs, tonality, counterpoints. This was not about hard comparisons and one-to-one projection, but more to interpret, think and work with elements. It was an investigation into methodologies within his own artistic practice.

From his own position, he considers himself as (editorial) designer, curator, musician and publisher with a strong predilection for language and typography. His artistic practice is formed by a number of ingredients that have always been present in his work to a greater or lesser extent. The most important, from his youth, is sound or music. Both as a source or inspiration, as a metaphor, as a thinking model and as an 'attitude' in relation to his practice. He sees it as punk, experimental, noise, investigative and critical, searching for dissonance and ordering of information, for rhythm and tonality. Sound in relation to image remains an elusive phenomenon that continues to fascinate him because sound/music is the most abstract art form. The subjective nature, the way in which vibrations can release such strong emotions, makes it possible to deal speculatively and to use them for use in typography, image, material choices, folding methods and bookbinding systems. This tactility, the application of materiality and the use of printing techniques as a metaphor for sound play a major role in his entire practice.


motivation

We knew that Remco had written an essay called 'Musical Theories in Graphic Design' – on the subject of graphic notation within a broader field of theory formation in contemporary musicand felt it would be a good match to work together on a research project about the graphic score. We had common interests, but at the same time approached the topic from different angles given our differing networks of practice and our outputs as a stage, publisher and designer. Yet these alternate approaches brought us together and made 'Pushing Scores' real.


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