Koen Brams
Peutz’ Jan van Eyck
Photos by Lilo Bauer and textual contributions by Ruth Buchanan and Geert Bekaert. Design Nina Stottrup Larsen, editing Petra van der Jeught.

Offset, full colour, 23 x 31 cm, 188 pp., ISBN: 978-90-72076-73-1, limited edition of 250.

Peutz’ Jan van Eyck documents the Jan van Eyck Academie as a physical and conceptual space. In 1961 the academy moved into the building designed by architect Frits Peutz. In the ensuing years the Jan van Eyck Academie transformed from a traditional institute for the arts into an open, multidisciplinary organization. The publication firmly ties in with the views and policies developed by Koen Brams, director of the Jan van Eyck Academie from 2000 until 2011.

The book that Koen Brams commissioned is an artwork in its own right. The photos by Lilo Bauer reflect the atmosphere the building exudes: sober, light, undeniably classy. Ruth Buchanan’s text reads like a performance and the text by architecture theorist Geert Bekaert offers a historical view and characterization of the building.

Bekaert writers: “[t]he building balances on the borderline between its own protected atmosphere and a far-reaching accessibility.” Further on he posits: “A building is absorbed into everyday life and is therein forgotten, but there are moments when it affirms itself as a framework and setting for exceptional circumstances.”

The clear design by Nina Stottrup Larsen in collaboration with Ziga Testen and the precise redaction by Petra Van der Jeught make the book at once modest and grand, subtle and rich. The recent developments the institute has undergone – Van Eyck has embarked on a new course, which involved an extensive renovation and new fitting out of the building – add to the publication’s appeal.

“A hand slips a piece of paper across a table, a flick of a dress, a wall, some steam, and all that wood, and all that concrete and soil and air. All of that air holding the things together.” (Ruth Buchanan)