Joost Swarte everywhere

Sept. 14, 2019 – Jan. 12, 2020

This year, Joost Swarte will be celebrating his fiftieth anniversary as an illustrator, designer and architect. At the beginning of the 1970s, Swarte started his career as an underground cartoonist for ‘Modern Papier’ and ‘Tante Leny presenteert!’. With his cover illustrations for the children’s magazines Okki and Jippo, he became better known among a wide audience. Publications in Belgian, French, Spanish and American magazines, including the influential The New Yorker, resulted in international recognition for his work.

Swarte has never restricted himself to the cartoon genre; he has also illustrated novels by Nescio, designed stamps, posters, and record sleeves. His work is everywhere, sometimes physically in the shape of a building, glasses, an elevator button or a stamp, and sometimes in the form of an illustration in a magazine or on a wall. Almost everyone is familiar with his work, without having consciously seen it. This is because Joost Swarte’s work has a self-evident quality – it is clear, legible, slightly ironic and always recognisable. The exhibition ‘Joost Swarte Everywhere’ is an ode to fifty years of drawing, and also shows Swarte’s search for the most surprising as well as comprehensible illustration on the basis of sketches that have never been exhibited before. It includes both large and intimate work, original drawings and reproductions, various materials and media, and familiar and lesser-known cherished classics.

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Joost Swarte. The New Yorker, Summer Adventures, 2015