NKF: N.V. Nederlandsche Kabelfabriek Delft

Piet Zwart Dutch

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 852

Piet Zwart’s corporate catalogue for the cable producer NKF models a new visual language—one of propulsive, synthetic looking, facilitated by industry itself. In its pages, photographs are arrayed like parts for assembly, then splintered and reassembled in exacting montage. Sweeping factory vistas appear alongside close-range views of sockets and wire, to visualize an economy of energy conveyance whose component parts are rarely seen. Graphic interventions instruct the novice viewer, and modulations of scale draw them through the circuitous course of factory production. To the delight of NKF executives and avant-gardists alike, Zwart’s formal invention served functional ends, selling the seductive allure of that strangely irresistible industrial product: the insulated high-voltage electric cable.

NKF: N.V. Nederlandsche Kabelfabriek Delft, Piet Zwart (Dutch, Zaandijk 1885–1977 Wassenaar), Letterpress

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