One of the most beautiful books from my collections is Peter Bekker’s booklet Steinway & Sons, which I was telling about in Etude 12, Piano destination. The story about the end of the life of a piano, is unequalled and he is telling this in a dry, light ironic style in a unique booklet in which he is giving at the end the thirteen characters from Steinway & Sons a new destination. I didn’t need to do much more as following his own text and just quote him here and there, in which way this transitoriness got its form in this humus of language and piano.
I have a unique collection of booklets from Peter at home, made and printed by himself. That’s not only printing, but also designing, editing, writing, creating the content. Most of the time it’s a short text, a letter or a poem, found in another book, or in a antiquarian bookshop. Almost all the time he makes also a linocut , just like in the piano booklet. His editions are always printed on a special chosen paper and most of the time bound with a thread. Peters wife Margie helps him in this binding. I collect the beautiful fragile booklets in some empty wine boxes, so they are protected the best as possible and I look at hem from time to time.
Some of them we have made together, like In Confidence, with my poem of the same name, written on the mv Brazilian Confidence, a voyage with this cargo ship from Antwerp to Bélem in Brazil. Peter made a great lino cut in which he separated the ship in parts from the beginning to the end and following this throughout the booklet. The small edition –like all his editions- is sold out of course, but the poem is also present in JOURNAL, the book I published about this travel – are still available from me, in a Dutch – but also in an English edition, just as you wish. It contains a daily journal with my adventures on the ship, socially and artistically, writing and photographing.
Another nice booklet we’ve made together, based on a poem fragment by John Masefield, from a book that I found at a second-roiund shop and had given to Peter once. Our booklet is again very fine designed and printed, together with some black and white pictures that I had made once at the island Schiermonnikoog in the upper north of the Netherlands.
In Peter’s home I recognize the lust and the sense of collecting, like I do in our home also. Like my little horses, toys or pictures, or the Flash cooking booklets, but also the books of favourite artists and photographers like: Marquet, Morandi, Picasso, Calvino, Modiano, Primo Levi, Plossu, Elger Esser, Bernlef, Raster, Loustal.
These collections are all touching more or less the same layers my soul: a certain desire, a light melancholy, an earthly attachment, the investigation, the game of appearing and disappearing, of covering and discovering, on which I wrote earlier that the invisible is a certain form of visibility. That’s also the case with collections, they become sources, reservoirs that have to be there to draw from. They have to be filled with beauty, in appearing, design, content, cohesion. In my collections literature, photography, bandes dessinées, eating and drinking, bookmaking, designing, are coming together as one world.
In my big collections of books, photography, literature, art, poetry, cooking books, I do a clean up from time to time. For this my own little bookshop does the job and it’s a miracle when someone orders a book all of a sudden. You have decided to do it away and to put it in a box in the basement. When someone is ordering it appears again and you take it in your hands, look anew at it and feel a light pain from the close of leaving, a recognition of the once touched beauty from which you will part. Sometimes I don’t even sell it at all and it goes back from the box on the bookshelf again. That’s not going anywhere of course, but alas…
And then still the objects, the sculptures of Eric Claus and Heleen Levano, the toy horses, small transmitters of dreams.
In between all these designed treasures, there’s also the collection of Annelies, iron that she found in the street, recognized by her in its abstract beauty, completely guileless and saved by her just before the final disappearing.
Collecting is bringing together in a unique cohesion and to let this all resonate together in a new universe.