Not much activity here.  Not many people doing add & passes.  Is mail art dying out?  

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Not yet!!!

on 24.03. we invite for an exhibition in the gallery of the artist residence CASAdelDRAGON and part of the show will be a MAIL ART installation and PERFORMENCE which will result in many new mail art envelopes on their way to mail art artists from IUOMA. so from our side it is alive and a very nice tool to do social art and to connect people.

if anyone is close to 12578 Cervera del Maestre please step in, very weekend till 15.04. we are open.



Two years ago Ruud said in this discussion: "Mail-Art is still alive and well". I agree. I'd like to discuss the strategies of mail-art authors. Maybe the Margaret start-topic is due to the fact that there are fewer projects (calls), and for existing projects authors sometimes do not receive full documentation of participation? There were some facts that gave rise to the start-topic, and we should take a closer look at this situation and understand it better. Mail-art changes from decade to decade, something in it goes away forever, and something on the contrary develops. Has anyone tried to make sense of the generational changes in mail art and the changes in it? 

Today I was at a mail-art exhibition that opened in Moscow on 16 August. Now this is a very rare event, unique! The curator of the exhibition hung his texts in the halls, in them he says that in the tenth years of the XXI century mail-art (in his opinion) has declined, projects are marginalised, participants do not receive documentation of participation, everything has gone to Internet blogs.... I do not agree with him to the fullest extent, because apart from such institutions as "project" and "exhibition", there is non-institutional communication of individuals in mail art. I sent my art piece to You, You sent me Your art piece. Nevertheless, there is clearly a feeling among old-timers that something has changed, something aren't the same anymore.

hello ilya,

i can not speak in the name of "mail-art" or "mail-art-artists" and sure i can not compare the "over-all-output" of artists in the last 120 years of mail-art. what i can do only, is, to talk honest about my experience in my own projects (equal if i am facilitator or follower).

every mail-art i was sending out contained an invitation to a "call" (in the sense of an invitation to participate in a social art project). my own limited artwork is always falling back into a kind of reminder, an artifact of another project or just a gift for the targeted artist. the real artwork is the "call" itself.

if people feel uncomfortable with the results they might reflect themselves about their own expectations. if i send out an envelope i put energy and money in this but i donate this to "the world of mail-art". I have NOT the single reaction of the receiver  of this particular envelope in mind.

so i see reactions of "the grid" in my post box. I can not compare this reaction with a moment 30 or 40 years ago. At that time i was doing mail-art sometimes without thinking about mail-art.

based on the political situation in the world and especially in Europe at the moment and based on the economic impact of a changing economic models i can imagine mail-art will change... it is part of contemporary art, everything alive is al the time adapting to new contemporary conditions.

if i am part of the "contemporary part" or if i am fading out as an older artist with more "classical approach in my content" i might notice in the quality and quantity of the reaction of the grid.

the personal echo-chamber is a tricky escape-room. what you wrote about the curator might by "bad practice" but i would not go so far to blame her/him for this, cause i do not know intention, story, approach and background. whenever i like to compete with other about somebody's attention i will try to focus the POSITIVE. i do not need the "concept of responsibility" to force myself to route the attention of a guest in the opening to something positive, i do it from a private standpoint of moral and ethical concepts.

in other words: you could invite the audience for celebrating the last service for an dying form of contemporary art or you could invite them to celebrate the birth of a new baby in town... with the same content. the question is more what and why you select this content and what is your framing.

i honor your last sentence. especially because it gives us an impression of your view WITHOUT judging! "change" is "live"? "old-timers" might be not contemporary? "feeling... expectation"?

wherever i imagine my point of view in the mail-art environment, i would be very happy to realize that it does never stick on my own limitations as a single human.

Ruud's quote is a good example: if one person in the world claims that mail-art is still alive and well .... it is.

Here, in the "Forum / Mail-Art Discussions" section, there are two or three discussion branches, to which it is interesting for me to return, rereading the ideas expressed. It keeps me going. Different folks look at reality so differently that it gives a great a feeling of the incompleteness of one's being, and the incompleteness of art, and the incompleteness of hope. "We are some kind of hope....."  

Very nice comment by Juan Petry just written.

Probably the curator of the exhibition I wrote about yesterday is wrong when he reduces all Mail Art to group projects (well structured), project calls, and participation documentation. As soon as these exhibitions with clear membership, prestige and documentation fell, it already seems to him that the "end of the world" has come. Yes, it is true that exhibitions with the same provision and with the same prestige as in the eighties, today, perhaps, are not held, although I may not know much. At the same time, you can, in principle, look at your place in mail art and at the meaning of art in a different way. In fact, I am quite satisfied with an individual exchange without subsequent publication in any catalogs. Fortunately, I can sometimes send my collage to collective projects, although I do not know about the fate of my collages (has anyone seen them in a distant country?).

I have had an add and ass returned.  Addressee unknown.  Is there anyone interested?  Please let me know.  Thanks in advance!

Love the add and pass.  

I can’t help but think that the perception of mailart dying out is determined by the persistence of the mailartist themselves. The amount of mail artists out there doing crazy amazing things seems to be almost infinite. Many of which are not associated are linked it IOUMA in any way. But they can be found easily via instagram, Facebook, etc. I do believe the pandemic likely brought new blood into the game, but either way it seems to be thriving. Artistamp creators in particular are presenting themselves everywhere I look, pushing the boundaries and making making incredible things. Mailart shows seem to be happening regularly, and calls for art via assembly zines seems to be popping up everywhere. Whether it is Mazima Strange, Nicola Winborn, Tictac, Bibiana and SA Griffin doing WOW NOW or the amazing long-standing calls of RF Cote, Ryosuke Cohen’s Braincell and Devid Dellafiora’s KART, Wipe, or Fieldstudy. I do think the cost of postage increasing with be a future issue for mailart. It likely already plays a factor in how active people are in the network. Obviousness some are more active than others but in general the energy, excitement and eagerness to be involved is palpable.

I'll add a few more words to what I said a few days ago. I was prompted to return to this discussion by the Mail Art exhibition in Moscow, which I attended on 17 August. The curator of the exhibition (this curator is Yuri Gik) wrote about the sad (from his point of view) state of Mail Art and listed the signs of decline. We disagree with the statement about decline, but he is right about one thing - postal art shows have begun to do without catalogues/booklets for all participants. I have sent my collages many times to a wide variety of exhibitions in different countries and very rarely received documentation of participation. In a few cases they were luxurious, expensive catalogues with illustrations. Sometimes the author is sent a piece of paper thanking him for his participation. Very often the author does not receive any documentation at all! Take a look at the calls that are posted on this portal. As a rule, curators initially do not promise any catalogue/booklet for authors, no documents. For example:


Suburbia Open Call


Queen or King


The Mosaic


And so on, and so on, and so on. It must be recognised that the rules of Mail Art have changed over forty years at least as far as documentation for the participating author is concerned. Is this a decline? I don't think so. Is this the new normal? 

Greetings to Yuri Gik, he came a couple of times to Athens in 2019 BC (Before Covid):

Wish that I could send mail art to you and Yuri, but mail to Russia was returned, not able to post from the European Union, I guess. But luckily we have the internet, and that is also why we can see documentation for mail art projects and exhibits "online"! It saves a lot of printing costs, and paper from cutting down trees. But things have changed over the years for mail art, some I think are very positive. The present increase in postage is a negative, however, it is a reason that I will be cutting back on mailing overseas. Still, as Ruud says, even ONE mail art out in the network means that mail art is alive and well! 

Following Ruud’s comment, I concur.  Mailart is doing quite well.  Add & Passes are a special breed of mailart.  I like them but hopefully the ones I receive are fairly new.  That will usually give me some freedom to add that works with what is there.  From there, I will decide:  “return to sender, address is known” or I will pass them on to someone I know that likes A & Ps. 

A & Ps that have been in the network for years and are likely copies of copies are more difficult.  I always brand them “Zombie” A & Ps and I will just treat them as starters.  Very often, one cannot even determine who the started the A & P.

The Mail Art Exhibition in Moscow probably didn't get much participation because a lot of countries can't send mail to Russia at the moment.



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