Letterpress works by Karel Martens
When Karel Martens began studying art in Holland in the late 1950s, “graphic design” did not even exist as its own course of study. Today he is widely recognized as one of the most important practitioners of that very discipline, with an esteemed client list that includes major publishers, architects, and institutions. His accolades include the H.N. Werkman Prize (1993) for the design of the architectural journal Oase, the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art (1996), the Gold Medal at the Leipzig Book Fair (1998), and numerous other distinctions. Martens has taught at the Yale School of Art, Jan van Eyck Academie, and co-founded Werkplaats Typografie in 1997. The below selection of Martens’ monoprints includes rare works from the 1950s and 60s. They engage with the technology of letterpress, deliberately misusing the media to create unique prints. Neither commissioned design objects nor autonomous artworks, Martens’ letterpress experiments exist as unique fragments of an ongoing visual process.