A little of me...

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Tottenham, North London, London, United Kingdom

Monday, 17 October 2011

HN Werkman

I've been a big fan of H.N Werkman for some time but for some reason have as-of-yet not posted anything about him. Born in 1882, in Holland, he established a large scale printing house in Groningen in 1908. The enforced closure of the printing house lead to Werkman establishing more of an independant set up from an attic space. This in turn lead to almost DIY printing methods which resulted in some truly innovative works of print. This can be best seen in the work he created whilst a member of the Dutch movement 'De Ploeg,' ('The Plow') with the simplistic yet effective use of stenciling and manual ink rollering onto paper. This work was frequently distributed in his self-published, avant-garde magazine, 'The Next Call.' I suppose what i find so appealing about his work is the delicacy and experimentalism that is existent in it. The limitations of having to work on a smaller scale with less amenities can create truly striking images not in spite of their primitivism but arguably because of it. With this in mind, the proto DIY ethic must be considered in regards to what i feel is interesting in his work. Of course, those in the know surrounding Art and Design are well aware of independantly-run magazines and in turn the contemporary magazines that are now common-place are given suitable and understandable gravitas. So, i feel it must be acknowledged that Werkman was revolutionary in this aspect, creating be-spoke publications from the inside of a warehouse attic. These publications reached their pinacle during the Second World War when Werkman and friend, August Henkels produced a pro-Jewish magazine entitled 'De Blauwe Schuit,' ('The Blue Barge') whilst under the Nazi regime. Despite the subtlety in which Werkman's magazine rebelled against The Third Reich, he was executed with nine others, three days before the liberation of his native Groningen. So this is my salute to H.N Werkman, to my mind one of the most under-rated artistic minds of the 20th century. Enjoy.

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