14 December 2018: Museums & Palaces, Shards & Signs, Pasts & Presents

-Richard Niessen: The Palace of Typographic Masonry

– Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum: 400m – On the ostraca of Iruña-Veleia, and the path that leads from archaeology to contemporary art.

14 December 7 – 9 pm at PrintRoom

The Palace of Typographic Masonry
The aim with ‘The Palace of Typographic Masonry’ is to make a plea for the splendour and variety of the graphic languages. A place where the intrinsic values of graphic design can be stored and cherished, a collective (imagined) building that is entirely devoted to the craft’s abundance, poetry and digressions. This mission of the project is expressed in exhibitions, publications, lectures and an encyclopaedic website. From what started out as a personal initiative of Richard Niessen, The Palace of Typographic Masonry is now forming a platform where more and more graphic designers are invited and involved in.
In the book ‘The Palace of Typographic Masonry – a guided tour by Dirk van Weelden’, philosopher and writer Dirk van Weelden takes the reader on a guided tour through the imagined structure. The journey offers reflections on the items on display, along the nine rooms of the Palace: Sign, Symbol, Ornament, Construction, Play, Poetics, Dialogue, Craft, and Order, and their inhabitants Juan Luis Blanco, Nejc Prah, Hansje van Halem and Mienke Simon Thomas, Tony Côme, Fanette Mellier, Studio Moniker, Matthijs van Boxsel, Daniel Wiesmann, Harmen Liemburg, Julius Vermeulen and Els Kuijpers.
The Palace of Typographic Masonry is edited by Richard Niessen, designed by Esther de Vries and published by Spector Books.

400m – On the ostraca of Iruña-Veleia, and the path that leads from archaeology to contemporary art.
400 meters is the distance between the museum of archaeology and the museum of contemporary art in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country. It is also the title of the latest book by the artists Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum. Printed and bound entirely by hand, using a mimeograph, this book deals with the polemical debate over the authenticity of the so-called “ostraca” from Iruña-Veleia: Hundreds of shards of ancient Roman pottery, discovered during archaeological excavations, into which have been scratched stick figures, numbers and alphabets, Latin phrases and even what appeared to be the earliest evidence of a literate Basque culture.

When a committee of academic experts dismissed these engravings as a hoax, the artefacts were sealed in boxes and locked away from the public. Ten years later, the artists submitted a formal loan application to the local authorities, requesting the original items for an exhibition in Artium, the Museum for Contemporary Art of Álava. Their objective was a conceptual, as well as a physical displacement of the contested objects, that would allow for interpretations beyond the binary opposition between false and genuine.

Besides offering unsolicited advice in anticipation of the reluctant authorities’ final response, the book considers the ongoing controversy over the ostraca from the angle of the turbulent history of Basque scholarship, and offers some reflections on the nature of knowledge, power and authorship in contemporary society.



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