le collectioneur enragé
Steef Davidson activist ~ collector ~ collagist ~ compilator
first ideas for a travelling show

For four decades Steef Davidson, born in 1943, has been infected with what is called in Dutch 'verzamelwoede' (collection mania, collection vengeance) being both a participator and a preservator of shaking events that changed society: happenings, jazz, dope, prisoner’s movement, squatting, red power, black power, underground press, comics, street poetry, printer collectives, and protest movements of all kinds...

From his own direct experience, widening his collection scope, digging for similar artefacts and documents from the past: socialist graphics, activists proclamations, photographs, movies, statuettes, ceramics and most of all posters...

These are the first few lines for a project about the collector and his collections, the compilator and his compilations, the activist and his actions, and the collagist that reassembles bits and pieces into a new ‘whole’ of his own making, waiting for someone else to collect.

The proposed project wants to put on show both original real objects and dematerialized digital versions. The last ones being part of narrated visual strips that show relations, detail context, contain some of the many stories that are hiding behind each artifact.

The exhibition is elastic in its size, able to adapt itself to different spaces combing real objects and digital representations.

Steef Davidson will come to word, other curators, collectors, artists and activists - who worked with him - will characterize him.

The many ways of usage and re-usage of what he collected, the different forms of representation - failures and successes alike - will be chronicled...


Rotterdamse Kunsthal, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Centre Pompidou Paris, Drents Museum, Musee de l'affiche Paris, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Universiteits Bibliotheek Amsterdam, International Institute of Social History, Uitgeverij Arcanum, Uitgeverij Van Gennep, Uitgeverij In de Knipscheer, Meulenhoff, Penguin Books, Rob Stolk, Simon Vinkenoog, Mel Clay, Louis van Gasteren, Pieter Boersma, Paddington Printshop, De Vrije Zeefdrukker, Fourth Russell tribunal on the Rights of the American Indians... just a few organisations and names that come to my mind right now... more to follow



click pictures to go to large size horizontal scrolls For better viewing press F11 (Windows), Apple+B (Mac) to take away navigation bars that otherwise block the full view; click any poster in the scroll to go back to this page


Selection of a few publications on comics and posters by Steef davidson

American comix Beeldenstorm Fuckbook The art of protest USSR in construction

Selection of Russian posters from the collection of Steef Davidson

selection 1-9 selection 10-24 selection 25-33 selection 34-48 selection 49-57

The pictures shown are not of an optimal quality, they are only meant to give a first impression of the kind of material and the quality one can find in the collection of Steef Davidson. This is the first half of a selection of 119 posters. The collection itself is much bigger and Russian posters are one of the many subjects it covers.

The captions are taken from handwritten notes on the contact sheets in the handwriting of Steef Davidson and are sometimes difficult to read and still need correction.

Technically these pictures are based just on a set of color photocopies I borrowed from Steef. They have actually gone through the following stages: 1) big size color slides of the original; 2) color photocopies on a sort of jumbo sheets of these slides; 4) the A3 size jumbo size color photo copies have been scanned in a high resolution; 5) individual posters have been digitally cut out from these scans and indivudally cropped and somehow color corrected and contrasts have been reset; 6) these 1 to 2 MB photoshop files have been used as a basis for generating the horizontal scroll pages, using my own program: 'Ars Memoria System'.

Tjebbe van Tijen 30/10/2004