No Image No Message | Spreads
‘No Image No Message’, eight artist pages in magazine ‘If/Then’, issue no.1, 1999. Publisher: BIS Publishers, Amsterdam.
It takes a second look to affirm what you thought you saw in the first place. They’re letters, or at least that’s what they have been, before they became this rhythm of rectangles that is dynamising the pages.
For these pages Martijn Sandberg has rearranged the elements of an earlier work, which was silkscreened in silver on reflective film mounted on metal – an artwork like a painting, a canvas.
They became a pattern, energetic and decorative, almost to the point of triviality – purely abstract forms repeated to produce an ornamental field. But once you know, or see, that the ornamentation is based on letters, and that the letters form words, then the repetition acquires another quality. The single slogan becomes a chant. Over and over again, a thousand voices shout: No Image No Message!
This thin line between image and message, between meaningful sign and abstract form, is where Martijn Sandberg produces what he calls his ‘Image Messages’.
‘The Song Remains The Same’ is another typographic work by Sandberg. Its title can be read as a motto for his work in general – what changes are the sequences. In this respect he shows a marked affinity for Techno and House music, and more than just in terms of obvious stylistics. It’s not about virtuoso solo performances. What counts is the sound of the entire thing, the complete field of experience, from the nihilistic and punk-like double slogan ‘No Message!’, ‘No Image!’, to the more auspicious combination that can be summarised as ‘there is no image that is not a message’ and vice-versa.
The spreads in this issue can be ‘read’ as a remix of those sample Image Messages: a track with the same structure as an earlier version, but looped in different ways – extended with differently shifting rhythms. In the background, there is still the choir, chanting the recitative, ‘No Image No Message’.
(Excerpts article: ‘Tracks, Max Bruinsma reads between the lines of Martijn Sandberg’s declarations’, text by M. Bruinsma, magazine ‘If/Then’ issue no.1, 1999)