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Two decades of Kwintessens magazine covers on display in a poster exhibition

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On display through 15 April 2012, the exhibition “21&#8212: 21 Years of Cultural Posters” celebrates the more intriguing covers of the quarterly Flemish design magazine Kwintessens since it started in 1992.

Almost every issue reflects the vision of a different graphic designer, leading Kwintessens to collaborate with more than 70 Flemish designers in its 20 years of publication. So, what is the meaning behind the number 21? In addition to designs from the past 20 years, the exhibition also debuted the new “Food (and) Design”-themed issue by Pieter Willems. The number is also significant for the 21 participating designers tasked to create a special poster for the show, which are available for visitors to take home for free.


Each poster tells a story related to a specific event, but Lodewijk Joye’s piece undoubtedly has caused the greatest controversy. Designed for a production of “Siegfried” at the Flemish Opera, it features an image of a man who had killed some fellow students. Coincidentally, these posters were hanging throughout Antwerp when Hans van Themsche went on his infamous murderous rampage, traumatizing the country. The population reacted strongly to the violent imagery in Joye’s poster, which has resonated with audiences once again during the exhibition.

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All the back issues of Kwintessens are on display in the Design Flanders Gallery as well, where there is a dedicated space to quietly read and discover them.

21—21 years of cultural posters

Through 15 April 2012

Design Flanders Gallery

Kanselarijstraat 19, 1000 Brussels