Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Jop van Bennekom


Jop van Bennekom chose American Typewriter for the text face of Butt because he thought it was a really gay typeface. But, as if to modify its perceived effeminacy, he uses a scruffy version of the typeface that has bad spacing and kerning. He is less equivocal about using Compacta for the headlines: 'It' very leather. Rough, buff and masculine.' But this is qualified by the fact that the interviews and soft-core gay porn are printed on paper the colour of a strawberry milkshake. 


I meet Van Bennekom in Amsterdam. The studio from where he and journalist Gert Jonkers, his partner in Top Publishers, produce Butt and style journal Fantastic Man is spartan. The wall above Van Bennekom’s desk is almost bare save for a note and two black-and-white images tacked into the plaster with pins. In his hand is a to-do list at least 40 items long, typed and with some annotations in blue biro. Butt was established in 2001, around the time Van Bennekom was beginning to attract critical attention for Re-Magazine, a series of self-referential explorations of the marginalia of existence. 

Erotic drawing by Francisco Hurtz

The first eight issues of Re- each used a different thematic lens (the home, boredom, sex, or re-connecting with one’s past) to look at daily experience. In 2002, with issue nine, it changed direction. Since then, each issue has been devoted to one person. Marcel delivers three monologues on his relationship to food and dieting in an issue called ‘Food Coma’; Hester, a failed screenwriter from London, was interviewed and photographed extensively as a way to examine some of the issues surrounding depression (words by Alice Twemlow, eyemagazine.com).