Karel Martens: Recent Work opens this weekend in NYC

The Dutch designer’s first solo exhibition in North America brings a selection of work, including a new letterpress print series, to New York’s P! gallery from Sunday.

Alongside Martens’ trademark over-printed works, the designer and typographer is also set to show a clock sculpture made from three coloured disks, a video installation piece and a modular “conceptual wallpaper system”, according to P!.

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Above and top of post: Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016. Letterpress monoprint on found card, 8 x 5 inches. Courtesy the artist and P!
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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016. Letterpress monoprint on found card, 8 x 5 inches. Courtesy the artist and P!

Martens’ work was part of P!’s inaugural show in 2012 and this new solo exhibition forms part of the project space and gallery’s final programme at its Broome Street base in NYC, which runs to May 2017.

Martens’ abstract works on found card sometimes contain as many as ten overprints and have become one of his most recognisable – and most admired – forms of graphic expression.

Perhaps his most well-known iteration of this method is the motif (see first image below) that was eventually used on the cover of his book, Printed matter / Drukwerk, first published in 1996 and coveted by graphic designers ever since (the second and third editions of the book have long since sold out; Hyphen Press has a good history of the book at hyphenpress.co.uk).

Martens sheds more light on his working process – and discusses many of these individual works – in a recent interview with the New York Times’ T magazine at nytimes.com.

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016. Letterpress mono print on catalogue card from the Moravian Museum, Brno, Czech Republic, 5 ¾ x 8 ¼ inches. Courtesy the artist and P!
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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016. Letterpress monoprint on found card, 8 x 5 inches. Courtesy the artist and P!
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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016. Letterpress monoprint on found card, 8 x 5 inches. Courtesy the artist and P!
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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016. Letterpress monoprint on found card, 8 x 5 inches. Courtesy the artist and P!
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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016. Letterpress mono print on catalogue card from the Moravian Museum, Brno, Czech Republic, 5 ¾ x 8 ¼ inches. Courtesy the artist and P!

Karel Martens: Recent Work is at P!, 334 Broome Street, New York, NY 10002 from September 11 until October 30. See p-exclamation.com.

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