Originally conceived for the Council of Europe, the successful design of the flag was later adopted by the European Union in 1985 whilst under the moniker of the European Ecomic Community. Designed by Arsene Heitz, a French draughtsman at the CoE, and Paul Levy, a Jewish-Belgian Holocaust survivor who worked for many years as the council's Director of Information, the finalised design was presented to the CoE in 1955 at its headquarters in Strasbourg, Heitz's hometown. This publication profiles the documents, design proposals and written correspondence between Heitz, Levy and further collaborators that would form the painstakingly diplomatic development of an iconic vexillological moment. As part of the book's research, a collection of fabric mochromes woven by weavers from all 28 member states of the EU in the base colour of the flag was compiled. These collated mochromes as such become a map themselves of the socio-ecomic shift within EU member communities, an embodiment of the disappearing textile industries of Europe. Conversely, the blue of these mochromes can be viewed as a physical representation of the EU's modernist tradition; its purity laws, it's longing for transcendence and an optimistic belief in utopian potential. This publication is published in conjunction with de Appel Artcenter, Amsterdam and supported by the Mondrian Fund, Amsterdam.
Torenbosch studied at the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam and at the Universitat der Kunste in Berlin. Torenbosch's work has recently been shown in The Netherlands, Italy and Germany. Director of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Charles Esche lives in Edinburgh and Amsterdam. He is co-founder and co-editor of Afterall Journal and Afterall Books. Mihnea Mircan is a curator and writer. He is the artistic director of Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp. His writing appears in magazines such as Mousse and Manifesta Journal. Grant Watson is Senior Curator and Research Associate at the Institute of International Visual Arts in London.
Charles Esche, Mihnea Mircan, Of Europe Archive Council, Remco Torenbosch