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jaune, geel, gelb, yellow. Monochrome.

This publication brings together writers from a variety of fields to reflect on the legacy and failures of Modernism from the perspective of their individual backgrounds and expertise. Brought together, they show the interconnectivity of a network of discourse across time periods. The book, published by Jap Sam Books, is a concept by Antonis Pittas, and is edited by Lisa Bakker and Eleonoor Jap Sam. With contributions by Maria Barnas (poet), I.K. Bonset (poet), Laurie Cluitmans (curator Centraal Museum), Johan F. Hartle (philosopher), Dirk van den Heuvel (architect), Bram Ieven (philosopher), Bruno Latour (sociologist), Thalia Ostendorf (social anthropologist), Bart Rutten (artistic director Centraal Museum), and Doris Witgens (curator). The book is designed by Alex Farrar and printed by die Keure (BE).

The publication is supported by the Mondriaan Fund, Creative Industries Fund NL, Jaap Harten Fonds, Centraal Museum and Reflexfolie. 


  • 5.00pm: Opening words by Dirk van den Heuvel (Head of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre)
  • 5.05pm: Introduction by Anne Hoogewoning (Coordinator Van Doesburg artist studio, Meudon)
  • 5.15pm: Book presentation by Antonis Pittas and Alex Farrar
  • 5.30pm: Conversation with Dirk van den Heuvel and Antonis Pittas, followed by a short Q&A
  • 5.45pm: Drinks and a chance to buy the book at NAi Booksellers.
17:00 – 18:30

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam



About the artist and book project

Antonis Pittas (Athens, 1973) is a visual artist who lives and works in Amsterdam. He is an honorary fellow in the faculty of humanities at the University of Amsterdam, where he conducts research and produces work under the heading Recycling History (Contemporising History/Historicising the Contemporary). His artistic practice focuses on contemporary social and political issues, exploring topics such as safety and control, economic crises and acts of resistance, as well as violence and vandalism.

Pittas has long been researching the visual language and legacy of Modernism and its promise for a better, more egalitarian and democratic world for all. However, the urge for total renewal also contributed to total destruction. In 2019, he was an artist in residence at the Van Doesburg House, the former home and studio of Theo van Doesburg, just outside Paris. His residency coincided with the widespread yellow vest protests in France. Although the demonstrations seemed visually united by the yellow vests, the protestors’ motivations for change were extremely diverse. Pittas moved from the urgency of the protests outside on the streets to the historical context and the private sphere of the Van Doesburg House. It brought him to investigate the legacy of Modernism through a political lens, culminating in a solo exhibition (14 August 2021–6 February 2022) at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, and an autonomous publication, published by Jap Sam Books. Both the exhibition and the publication are characterised by reflective yellow foil, which is a material generally used for traffic barriers and road signs. It evokes associations with danger, visibility, warning, protection, safety, and control.

The title jaune, geel, gelb, yellow is borrowed from Van Doesburg’s Dadaist magazine Mécano, four issues of which were published between 1922 and 1923. Each issue was named after one of the primary colours, written in the four different languages in which the magazine was published. The exhibition and the publication examine the failure, collapse and historisation of the Modernist ideals espoused by Theo van Doesburg, set against the current political backdrop of mass protest.

Thursday Night at Het Nieuwe Instituut
Luca Napoli

Thursday Night Live! is a weekly programme of lectures, screenings and discussions on architecture, design and digital culture. Developments and critical insights are discussed by thinkers, designers and makers from the Netherlands and abroad.