Curated selection by Marlies Visser

July 2022

For our series ‘Curated by’, we invited Marlies Visser, head of Illustration Design at ArtEZto make a selection from APRIA’s archives.

Within Illustration Design, attention is paid to images that focus on both personal and social topics. A good illustration engages the audience on several levels by approaching the subject in a groundbreaking way, and by maintaining a balance between originality and recognisability in form and style. Images can comment or reflect and communicate responsibly. We work with projects and within each project there is a part of the programme  that is dedicated to critical reflection by inviting guest lecturers/artists and visiting exhibitions, etc. Each lecturer shapes this in line with the content of the projects.    

On APRIA there is a lot to read and to see but I want to highlight the following articles within the context of a few different projects:      

1. Embodied experience   

Within Illustration Design this year, we are working with semester themes. The first theme is the body. The body has been taken as the starting point for projects, afor instance, working from sensations (see the image). We also followed studium generale with the Kitchen Table Conversations (Lichaam en (on)macht : Hoeveel zelfbeschikking hebben we eigenlijk over ons lichaam.)   

2. Relationship artist – subject   

During another editorial assignment, students made associative work on the book Hills of Paradise, written by Mineke Schipper. They worked on a few proverbs that are on a website compiled by Mineke Schipper (women in proverbs worldwide). In the 21st century, men still have more power than women in many areas of life, and Schipper investigates how this difference in prestige between the two sexes came about. Two articles on APRIA related to this are: How is Affect Related to the Social?, by Eliza Steinbock, and Can Translation do Justice?, by Sruti Bala. These are good examples of how the artist translates their fascination or theme into the work and the question of how the artist subsequently relate to that subject (in socially-oriented work). Sruti Bala’s article deals with the image/artwork as a way to express feeling, experience, and emotion in an artistic and meaningful form.   

3. Philosophical connection (substantiation) to art through the ‘theme’ of perception   

“Imagination shows the richness of reality by highlighting other things than we usually do.” An example of this is the text and design-based research by Onno Zijlstra Verbeelding.   

4. The role of art and climate activism   

Harriet Bergman talks about her research into climate change and emotions in this episode of Radio ArtEZ Podcast.  


Marlies Visser (1966) is a graphic designer, curator and illustrator. She is the founder and creative director of the Illustratie Biënnale; an international festival for illustrators, designers and lovers of graphic art. Her work adapts in many forms: from books and a philosophy boardgame ‘Nomizo’ to an international art and block print design project in Rajasthan, India. She is head (interim) of the department Illustration Design, ArtEZ. 

Director: Illustratie Ambassade, Illustration Embassy, Amsterdam 
Boardmember: Stichting 37PK, Platform voor Kunsten, Haarlem