Luna Maurer & Jonathan Puckey

Sky-catcher (2005-2007)

17 Nov 2007
7 Apr 2008

In a world where everything revolves around being in control, designer Luna Maurer decides to give away control. Her designs are partly determined by external factors. Her work is about the magic of the unpredictable.

Luna Maurer usually creates graphic art, but makes use of photography for the project Sky-catcher. In July 2005, Maurer installed a camera on the rooftop of cultural centre De Balie in Amsterdam, which since then has been taking a photo of the sky above the Museumplein square every five minutes. The images are uploaded automatically and can be viewed on The appearance of the website is determined by what the sky looks like at that moment. The colour of the text also adapts to the colour of the sky. Currently, the archive consists of 150,000 pictures of the sky. Visitors to the website can view the images, watch them as an animation, or order them in the form of a poster.

Sky-catcher (2005-2007)
The wall print in Museum De Paviljoens consists of 100.000 photos covering the period from 3 September 2005 to 23 September 2007. Each column of small pictures visualises a 24-hour period from midnight to midnight, in which the Earth turns around its axis. When viewed from a distance, what stands out in particular is the organic shape of the photo work, which is caused by the difference between darkness and daylight and between the lengths of summer and winter days. Using library steps, the visitor can view the panoramas from close up and zoom in on the colour gradients and grey-blue tones of the sky, the varying cloud formations, the position of the Sun and Moon, the elements, the wind vane, and details such as a pigeon flying by or the foggy window of the camera house. The grey columns represent the periods during which the camera was broken. The overexposed pink images have been included in the series.

The wall print contains a wealth of information that reveals itself to a close observer. Even within the dark night images, there is much to discover: fireworks on January 1st, the Moon, swirling plumes of smoke. On a few occasions, the night is remarkably light, due to the fact that falling snow is reflecting the shine of the Moon, stars and streetlights. And it's for good reason that the dusky hour between day and night is known as the Blue Hour. At that time of day, right before sunrise and after sunset, the sky is cloudless remarkably often. With the Sky-catcher project, Maurer tries to visualise the organisation of nature and to capture its beauty and magic.

Schrijfblok (Writing Pad), 2002, edition of 1000, Publication Sandberg Instituut
If you leaf through Luna Maurer's Schrijfblok (Writing Pad), you'll see that the squared pattern is gradually "blown off" the paper. In Maurer’s design, the grid has no fixed pattern but is elastic, creasable and can sometimes even be stretched into a spatial shape, as is the case on This Schrijfblok (Writing Pad) is, in fact, a flipbook. If you move your thumb along the pages, the squares start to live a life of their own. For this project Luna Maurer collaborated with Jochem van der Speck, who developed the computer software. The distortion of the grid is a recurring theme in Maurer's work. In 2003, a series of these designs won the Rotterdam Design Award.

Grijs Blok (Grey Note Pad), 2007 (concept 2005)
An earlier concept developed by Maurer was realised for the first time especially for this exhibition: Grijs Blok (Grey Note Pad). The pages of this booklet feature evenly distributed black and white dots. Although each page seemingly has the same grey tone, one can see upon close inspection that the pattern shifts and changes with every page. Maurer developed the idea for the Grijs Blok (Grey Note Pad) in response to her previous work Grey Movie (2005), a short animated film that was screened during lectures by Monique Scheepers about the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995). Deleuze asks himself: how can we let all elements of a non-homogenous ensemble function in unison? His answer is surprisingly simple: make sure that you are invisible. Luna Maurer’s Grey Movie and Grijs Blok (Grey Note Pad) are visualisations of Deleuze's concept. Says Monique Scheepers about Maurer’s Grey works: Become grey, that is to say: don’t strive for power and dominance, but to become like everyone else while staying different, which means that you don’t conform to a model but become creative.

The Quarantine Series, 2005
In 2003, curator Nina Folkersma asked Luna Maurer to develop a graphic house style for The Quarantine Series, an underground artists' initiative in Amsterdam that organised exhibitions and events. Maurer elected not to develop a fixed logo, but had colour function as a logo. A daily changing paper colour formed the basis for the house style. Each new colour was generated from the previous ones using logarithms. The text was printed in fonts that hadn't been used previously and that Maurer requested from her circle of graphic designer friends. Each invitation consisted of 4 beautifully coloured sheets. On some of these, text was printed, while the others remained empty and could be used by the recipient for other purposes – as sketching or wrapping paper, for instance. The accompanying catalogue consists of pages in 21 Pantone colours and includes an introductory text, images and interviews. All colours can also be seen on Just as is the case with Schetsblok (Writing Pad) and Grijs Blok (Grey Note Pad), this book designed by Luna Maurer has began to live a life of its own.

Floor design, 2007
From De Paviljoens' unvarnished wooden floors sprouts a network of coloured lines that during the run of the exhibition will branch out and grow further and will eventually take over most of the museum. With this work, Luna Maurer maps out the Museum De Paviljoens' consultative structure and thus its network.
Upon request of the artist, the museum staff will write down their appointments in the central agenda extra diligently and add a code to the meetings to provide the best overview possible. The museum's conversation partners have been arranged according to different categories, varying from internal meetings to meetings with artists, authorities, businesses, schools, et cetera. Each category will be represented by its own colour on the floor.
As is the case with her other works, Luna Maurer determines the parameters in advance but doesn't know what the work will look like in the end. Luna Maurer describes her working method as follows: Within the system I'm looking for the human disruption, the imperfection and magic. A design will only remain exciting as you long as you have the feeling that you will never be able to comprehend or control it completely.
She identifies herself with what the mathematician and biologist Brian Goodwin says about his research on complex systems: We don’t explain things away in science. We get closer to the mystery.

Previously the short film Sally, made by Luna Maurer in collaboration with Roel Wouters, was shown in Museum De Paviljoens. The film formed part of the project Grote Kunst voor Kleine Mensen (Big Art for Small People) that premiered in Museum De Paviljoens in 2005 in the form of an exhibition.
Luna Maurer currently lives and works in Amsterdam. She studied at the Pforzheim School of Design and the Rietveld Academy and Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. Previously, her work was shown at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Het Domein in Sittard and various Design Biennials in Brno / Czech Republic (2006) and London (2003). As a graphic designer, Luna Maurer worked for the BKVB Fund, SKOR, Casco and the Piet Zwart Institute, amongst others.

Mireille de Putter

1 Marieke Kruithof, Theo Ploeg, 54.780 Woorden over Nieuwe Media Cultuur in Nederland (54,780 Words about New Media Culture in the Nederlands), Institute for Network Cultures, 2007
2 Monique Scheepers, text in Grijs Blok (Grey Note Pad), 2007
3 Grote Kunst voor Kleine Mensen (Big Art for Small People) is a production of Cut-n-Paste (Nathalie Faber and Caroline Euser) and consisted of 11 short artist's films for children of ages 2 through 6.

Luna Maurer & Jonathan Puckey
Luna Maurer
1972, Stuttgart, Germany
Jonathan Puckey
Sky-catcher, 2007, wall print.

Website Sky-catcher
Website Luna Maurer