When the art event SONSBEEK was launched in 1948, it focused on the Netherlands’ reaction and recovery from WWII. Throughout its history, it has always been concerned with contemporary issues and current affairs. Since the 1971 edition, it has become more synonymous with progressive and experimental art. By inviting the Indonesian artist collective ruangrupa in 2016, SONSBEEK gave a new and important impulse to radical and avant-garde art.
inspiration Entitled transACTION SONSBEEK 2016 was curated by ruangrupa. They have a slightly rough identity – free and anti-institutional. Their work is sketch-like, playful and rough, reminding us of punk fanzines from the 80s. Their fluid way of working works well with the work of Dutch artist and illustrator Jan Rothuizen.
how it got done For transACTION’s identity thonik collaborated with Rothuizen. He provided hundreds of sketches, which are incorporated into the concept. But first, we manipulated the dots that frame the original SONSBEEK logo by dropping them down into a single horizontal line with a random rhythm. The arbitrariness sits well with Rothuizen’s illustrations which are depicted in blue, as if roughly sketched by a blue biro.
The key was to maintain balance between the drawings and the typographic language. The result is an adaptable system that can work horizontally or vertically depending on the medium. We used different illustrations for each context depending on whether it was for the posters, the website or trailers.
Presented as a single visual, the transACTION identity works as an interaction between a graphic system and the very specific and recognizable authorship of Rothuizen. It beautifully captures ruangrupa’s own vision of the event.
client profile In their programs, successive curators responded to previous editions, highlighting contemporary issues and examining the state of society. Over the years, the presentation has expanded from meadow to mall, from church to red light district, from boats and buses to a procession of hundreds of Arnhem residents through the centre of town. Yet however far the boundaries extend, Park Sonsbeek is still at the heart of every exhibition.