This year in Mirror of the World, we’re featuring four issues of the Dutch journal Wendingen: maandblad voor bouwen en sieren (literally, ‘Twists and turns: A monthly magazine of building and decoration’), which have never before been exhibited at the Library.
This highly influential journal was the brainchild of architect Hendrik Wijdeveld, who edited and designed many of its 116 editions published between 1918 and 1932. Its name connotes ‘upheaval’ and ‘change’, reflecting the radical impact of World War I (1914–18) on all aspects of society and culture. The 1920s saw the dawn of a new ‘modern’ age, envisaged with optimism and excitement.
Produced primarily for architects and interior designers, the journal highlighted the work of major artists and designers from around the globe working in almost every medium, including architecture, graphic design, ceramics, sculpture, glass, theatre and dance. Artists featured included AustrianSecessionistsJosef Hoffmann and Gustav Klimt, Anglo-Irish furniture designer Eileen Gray and Jewish German architect Erich Mendelsohn, to name just a few.
Issue 4/11 (1921), one of those shown in our display, is one of seven numbers dedicated to influential modernist American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Its cover features a drawing by Russian artist El Lissitzky, in the idiosyncratic ‘Proun’ style that the artist himself explained as ‘the station where one changes from painting to architecture’.
With its luxuriously large square format, rice paper, hand-stitched spine and striking use of typographic design, Wendingen set a new standard for the production of art journals (heavily influenced by Japanese book production techniques), and is today recognised as a seminal publication in the history of design.
These journals will be on display until October 2015.