Here the title and blurb, both in black, are printed on uncoated royal blue paper. Depending on how the light falls it is sometimes more legible, sometimes less. The  effect is almost a literal representation of the way the painter Steven Alders, interviewed by Robert van Altena, sheds light on his abstract paintings. For this small but striking book succeeds in explaining what to a broad audience is the difficult subject of abstract art in a light-hearted and easily understood way – in a conversation about Aalders’s work and that of fellow artists.

This is a book that arouses covetous instincts even before you know what it’s about. With its two thin sections in orange and yellow there is a wonderful subtle pattern at the edges. This trick, whose function only becomes clear at the end, is a brilliant example of how effective and inventive a book concept can be, however simple it is.

On the small pages the informative text and the images used to illustrate it are clearly linked. The use of half-height blank lines to aid the insertion of small illustrations means that the text doesn’t register, but this isn’t a problem: it’s an acceptable consequence of the basic idea of using the design to support the narrative of an associative interview by reference to examples. And in this book the illustrations are placed in the middle of the text. Come to think of it, this is just what van Gogh did with the sketches in his letters.

That a publishing house like Prometheus should publish this little gem is cause for hope. Please let it be an example to others!



Author Steven Aalders, Robert van Altena

Year 2017

Language Dutch

Edited by Marieke van Ommeren

Publisher Prometheus, Amsterdam

Designer Irma Boom Office, Amsterdam (Irma Boom, Nina Ruppen); photographed by Peter Cox, Steven Aalders (paintings and sketchbooks)

Prepress Lenoirschuring, Amsterdam

Printer Lenoirschuring, Amsterdam

Binder Patist, Den Dolder

Size 125 x 200 x 17

Number of pages 271 p.

Print run 1,000

Price € € 19.99

ISBN 978 90 446 3420 4

Font Neuzeit S (Linotype)

Binding style sewn soft cover with flaps

Material 85gsm Arcoprint Milk 1.5 (Fedrigoni), 90gsm Pop’Set Flame Orange, Sunshine Yellow (Antalis) (interior); 270gsm Colorplan Royal Blue (Christiaan Janssen) (cover)