Jan van Toorn

Jan van Toorn

Van Abbemuseum

Jan van Toorn, Falconplein, 2012.

September 14, 2014

Staging the message—The open work of Jan van Toorn
27 September 2014–18 January 2015

Opening: Saturday 27 September, 3pm

Van Abbemuseum
Bilderdijklaan 10
The Netherlands

T +31 (0) 40 238 1000
info [​at​] vanabbemuseum.nl


Staging the message—The open work of Jan van Toorn is a homage to the Dutch graphic designer, design theoretician and exhibition designer Jan van Toorn (b. 1932). The exhibition shows the working process at the basis of his graphic oeuvre. This does not happen in a traditional chronological way, but as a visual journey full of associations, historic events and image reports. The presentation examines Van Toorn’s unorthodox way of thinking with which he adds critical notes to the art of the graphic designer. His work is inspired by a strong social commitment. These are discussions about the public importance of critical research into the visual media. What do you see? Why do you see it like that? Is it manipulation or reality? For a long time, Jan van Toorn—who was nominated for the Amsterdam Prize for the Arts this year—also created many groundbreaking designs for the Van Abbemuseum.

Jan van Toorn constantly challenges the effects of the image and the power of its message. By presenting a visual game he tries to liberate the viewer/reader from the passive role of a consumer of marketing messages. It is not the design itself, but the effect that the message has that is one of the most important driving forces in his work.  In response to visual and textual spectacle in the media which hinder a deeper form of communication, Jan van Toorn instead searches for a meaningful and critical exchange with the users of his designs. He also enters into a dialogue with design professionals about dealing with images, text and typography and their social responsibility.

The opening of the exhibition is on Saturday 27 September, with an opening speech at 3pm, in the presence of Jan van Toorn.

Dutch Design Week
The exhibition is also on view during the Dutch Design Week, from 18 to 26 October. The museum is hosting the Sense Nonsense show by Design Academy Eindhoven in the old building at the same time. Both exhibitions allow us to take a critical look at themes such as the relationship between image and content, presentation and representation, and process and outcome. Introducing new knowledge and expertise into the contemporary art museum uses culture to strengthen and reinforce reflections about what is relevant and urgent in society today.

Diana Franssen, Els Kuijpers, in cooperation with Jan van Toorn.

For more information on Staging the message—the open work of Jan van Toorn  you can visit www.vanabbemuseum.nl.
Or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

The exhibition is made possible with the support of Creative Industries Fund NL.

Jan van Toorn at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
RSVP for Jan van Toorn
Van Abbemuseum
September 14, 2014

Thank you for your RSVP.

Van Abbemuseum will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.