IIN REGARD TO MAIL-ARTISTICAL DINOSAURS
The Mail Art syndrome has stuck again… After a period of superficial and bucolic rest, the mail art immobility has recovered its defiling and uncommon “vis”, regenerated by a refreshing injection of new strength (various new entries increase the number of mail artists operating nowadays).
Mail Art, Postal Art, “Arte Correo”, are linguistic transpositions which include a huge range of projects, magazines, books and exhibits coming from an unofficial world, out of the historical process.
In Italy, Mail Art has spread and gathered interest since the earliest 70’s (represented by Romano Peli, Toni Ferro, Rino de Michele and me), thanks to its specific aptitude for communication of this country.
The idea of “self-historicization” deserves mentioning apart. This unforgettable GAC’s (Guglielmo Achille Cavellini) project is not out of a constant and clear self-irony, even if it was not always understood: more than once I was present at misunderstood provocations, when unaware visitors didn’t realize his subtle irony. I remember a particular dinner, after an exhibition: Guglielmo was talking about Peace, when he calmly declared that Nations would have reached an agreement on nuclear power, naturally in order to protect… his artworks!, intentionally omitting the rest! It was the 70’s, so that the risk of the nuclear bomb was still alive. You could imagine the anger caused by the provocation!
How to forget the trip to Belgium with GAC in the early 80’s? Here, Guy Bleus, in my opinion one of the most intelligent and sensitive mail artists, was a perfect guide around his Country. I also remember his scented postcards as an example of genial creativity.
The leading and unquestionable exponent of Mail Art is Ray Johnson, in whose letters, adorned by ironic drawings (as Fluxus tradition asks) and self-portrait pictures, he wrote me about his life and postal Art. I answered sending him some mail art works expressing my interpretations of his ADD&SEND BACK sheets which I sent also to other mail artists all around the world.
Thanks to such a constant exchanging, since 1975 to nowadays, I have set up a rich archive on Ray’s figure. Some of the material is still on the road, sometimes others come back… home!
Ruggero Maggi, Italy