Patrik Ourzednik, Europeana: A Brief History Of The Twentieth Century
for Ivan Limbakh Publishing, 2007
“Enthralled by matters of language‚ Ourzednik offers a burlesque vision of the history of contemporary Europe‚ combining the tragic aspect of the situation with anecdotal facts that stress the absurdity of the twentieth century.”
I came across an ominous engraving by Hans Collaert (1571-1633): stern men work hard with shovels and knives, and large cauldrons boil; the men are producing warhead-like cones. Later, I learned the title of this engraving—Sugar Brewing. This paradox fit well with the grotesque nature of Ourzednik’s book, which strikingly opposes the ordinariness of the twentieth century’s war crimes and the scandalousness of its daily life.
I transformed the title—Europeana—into a solid (albeit incomplete and gaping) reddish structure that dominates the face and stains the engraving. The author’s name is minimized in contrast and seals the book from three sides. The reddish elements are UV-varnished to add visual and tactile depth.
The engraving is fully revealed in the endpapers. Also, I produced a number of bursting typographic compositions constructed from the author’s marginal notes inside the book.
Unexpectedly, this cover design has become a kind of series concept (rather a vague one) that I have had to employ and play with since.