Featured Artist : Willem de Bruijn

Willem - Book of Secrets

Poliphilo in London (2004)

This book is based on a famous 15th-century romance titled Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (Venice 1499), known in English as The Strife of Love in a Dream, which tells the story of Poliphilo’s quest for love. In the course of his quest, Poliphilo visits various strange buildings and sites of architectural and archeological interest, which are described in great detail. The present text is a rewriting of the story transposed from Renaissance Italy to contemporary London.

Palladio in Pink and in Profile (2011)

Using the technique of pricking (with needles of various sizes) this book reproduces parts of architectural drawings that can be found in Andrea Palladio’s Quattro libri dell’architettura (Venice 1570). Evidence shows that Palladio and his contemporaries used the technique of pricking to either produce the basic coordinates of architectural drawings or to copy them. This work explores pricking as a drawing tool in its own right, with its own aesthetic qualities.

Palladio for the Blind (2011)

Using again the technique of pricking, this work elaborates on the previous book, Palladio in Pink and in Profile (2011) by focusing on the three classical orders of architecture, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. The title emphasizes the tactile quality of pricked drawings, but is in no way meant to distract from the visual qualities produced by the pricking (when held in direct sunlight, the pricked pages can be made to project a drawing made up of light on the underlying page).

Book of Secrets (2014)

This book is bound in white silk with an original Victorian lace pattern silkscreen-printed in gold on the fabric (a left-over from a curtain prototype made for another project). The text block is white and without content. Like a guestbook, people are invited to write down a secret that they would like to entrust to the book but to no person in particular. In this way it may be possible to meet the paradox of the secret: that you want it to be known, but to be known by no one.

Artist Statement

Willem de Bruijn is an artist and academic based in London. He holds an MSc in Architecture (2001) from the TU Delft in the Netherlands and a PhD (2010) in History and Theory of Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. His current research centers on the use of pictures in art historical and architectural writing, for which the work of Aby Warburg forms an important reference. Often haunted or puzzled by a specific detail in a painting or a building, his work always looks for ways to (re)produce, as well as understand, the very mechanism that gives rise to such effort.




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