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Het gevecht by Armando, with three lithographs

An artist’s book with poetry by Armando. Illuminated with three beautiful lithographs that – as a bonus – are printed on loose sheets and are signed, dated and numbered by Armando.

Title of the book: ‘Hemel en aarde. Het gevecht’ (meaning Heaven and earth. The fight). Subtitle in French, because it concerns a bilingual edition: ‘Ciel et terre. La bataille’. Jan Mysjkin and Pierre Gallissaires signed on for the French translation.

Het gevecht
Het gevecht first appeared in print in 1971, at De Bezige Bij in Amsterdam, in the poetry book Hemel en aarde. This book contained three long, fragmented poems: De schepping, Het gevecht and De ondergang (the Creation, The Fight and The Downfall). In 1976 Het gevecht was also published independently, by Boelen publishers in Amsterdam. In 1987 it was reprinted by De Bezige Bij. Eventually, in 2007, the edition that Olla Art now offers, in the shape of an artist’s book, was published by Ergo Pers.

Three lithographs
The Ergo Pers edition is a beautifully designed edition, encased in a cardboard slipcase. The text was typeset from Trump Mediaeval and printed by Rein Ergo on Vélin d’Arches. The book contains a suite of three loose-leaf lithographs; these were provided by Rento Brattinga of Steendrukkerij Amsterdam. The publication of the artist’s book by Ergo Pers dates from 2007 – the lithographs are dated 2006.

Armando, Hemel en aarde. Het gevecht, 2006 (litho 1)

Armando, Hemel en aarde. Het gevecht, 2007
Lithograph, 36 x 28 cm

Armando, Hemel en aarde. Het gevecht, 2006 (litho 2)

Armando, Hemel en aarde. Het gevecht, 2007
Lithograph, 36 x 28 cm

The lithographs show powerful, amorphous forms in Armando’s typical handwriting, masterfully printed by Brattinga.

Praised and maligned
Het gevecht has been much discussed by critics. It has provoked conflicting reactions. In the Lexicon van literaire werken (digitally available on, literary critic Jaap Goedegebuure summarizes the history of the poem’s appreciation by stating: “It is clear from the critics’ reactions to Het gevecht that hardly any of them know what to do with the poem” (Goedegebuure, 1994). Some critics – notably Anton Korteweg and Carel Blotkamp – keep their heads down, some – J. Bernlef and Jan Cremer – express strong criticism, and others – Rein Bloem, K.L. Poll and Louis Ferron – express themselves positively about Het gevecht. Ferron, in particular, sings the praises of the poem.

War experiences as images
About the theme of Het gevecht, Goedegebuure notes that Armando’s war experiences resonate in all his work, in language and image. Yet, he argues, “it would be wrong, as Poll has already pointed out, to reduce the fight to the literary processing of a private anecdote. It is precisely the mythical aspect of the chosen theme that guarantees a supra-individual meaning. Armando is not concerned with his private war experiences, nor with the Second World War as a historical event, but with the inseparability of good and evil, which belong together as much as life and death, and can only be considered as distinct and opposed forces on the level of rational reflection. The war situation is then rather an image in which the dynamics of existence manifest themselves more strongly than under normal circumstances” (Goedegebuure, 1994).

Armando, Hemel en aarde. Het gevecht, 2006 (litho 3)

Armando, Hemel en aarde. Het gevecht, 2007
Lithograph, 36 x 28 cm

Armando (pseudonym of Herman Dirk van Dodeweerd) died in 2018 at the age of 88. Click here for a short biography. Except for the artist’s book Hemel en aarde. Het gevecht, we offer a framed carborundum print from Armando: Die Hand.

Goedegebuure, J. (1994). Armando. Het gevecht. Lexicon van literaire werken, February 1994.