Jaap Drupsteen: A Compilation of Revolution

Jaap Drupsteen: A Compilation of Revolution

This week, we’ve launched Traces of Life, an audiovisual artwork collection, by Jaap Drupsteen. Four artworks in the collection speculate about death and life, memories and residues with abstract patterns made in the electronic process.

Presenting non-pictorial, geometric visuals resulting from manipulating software and challenging the norm of perceptions have been a particular characteristic of Drupsteen’s artworks. 

A still from Tree Spirits 2 by Jaap Drupsteen

With the coming of the new collection, we’d like to share some exciting projects among Drupsteen’s expansive practices from graphic design, and typography, to project mapping and audiovisual performance. They are genuinely interesting while helping us to understand his style and concepts in musical elements, repetitions, and glitched abstract shapes today more deeply.


Jaap Drupsteen has been experimenting with and adapting to ever-evolving mediums and videography techniques since the 1960s.

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

One of the most enthralling but also the most unexpecting mediums Jaap Drupsteen work on is glass. Drupsteen designed the glass facades of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision with glass company Saint Gobain and TNO. Using the 768 images from the Sound & Vision collection, he created the glass wall presenting the history of broadcasting. Each glass has unique patterns and reliefs telling the stories of the building itself from the exterior. The abstracted glitched images show Drupsteen’s styles which resonate with some of the artworks he released on Sedition. 

Detail of the glass facade of Sound and Vision. Photo: scagliolabrakkee

VPRO television

In the early stage of his video works, Drupsteen made a graphic identity for the VPRO in the 1970s. Jaap Drupsteen introduced and adapted the techniques of assembling multiple layers with hand-drawn graphics using analogue equipment. The graphics are still certainly stylish today, you can imagine how revolutionary they were back then - there was no computer, no Adobe, no other image editing software!

Stills from VPRO idents, Courtesy of the artist (https://drupsteen.nl)

Graphic Designs: Stamps, Banknotes, and Passports

Drupsteen’s creative styles and talent are pronounced in his design projects which can be familiar to some of you. He has been commissioned by various bodies of organisations and corporates including PTT, and The Dutch Bank. Dutch passports and identity cards are also designed by Drupsteen. The design combining clear visual identities and functionality with bold applications of colours and expressions brings a small joy into our everyday lives. 

PTT Stamps and Dutch Banknote, Courtesy of the artist (https://drupsteen.nl)


As he had been working in TV production extensively, Drupsteen continued exploring videography and audiovisual works. His ‘musical visual solutions’ for TV concerts show experimental editing techniques providing rhythmical elements. The visuals weave multiple instruments, musicians into a screen offering a multifaceted perspective rather than simply copying the stage. 

Stills from De Volharding and Celli, Courtesy of the Artist (https://drupsteen.nl/)


Drupsteen doesn’t restrict his creation to stay on a screen. As well as he pursues three-dimensional perceptions in video works, the artist’s works are coming out to the physical spaces with real-time performances and projection mapping. 

Projection Mapping onto Organ, Courtesy of the Artist (https://drupsteen.nl)

As he led the innovation of motion graphics back in the 1960s, Jaap Drupsteen pushes the boundary of contemporary video software and trigger the dialogues relevant to the exploration of the human-machine relationship.

In his collection, Geometric Serendipity, the artist is playing with software by not giving the proper data inputs for depth - defining the three-dimensional aspects in 3D software. Viewers can see a certain struggle that the digital software going through to find the right value, and the illusory visuals coming out of this process. 

A Still from Triangles Undercover 3 by Jaap Drupsteen


Source: Jaap Drupsteen (https://drupsteen.nl/), Beeld & Geluid (https://www.beeldengeluid.nl/)

Top image: The colorful Sound and Vision building, designed by Neutelings Riedijk. Photo: Daria Scagliola and Stijn Brakkee

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Jaap Drupsteen
Jaap Drupsteen
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