Mail art by IUOMA member Henry Denander (Stockholm, Sweden)
December 6, 2015 - I am thrilled to have received this FAB art on a stamp sheet from the extraordinary Henry Denander of Sweden. The piece is approximately 8.5 X 11 inches (A4). I am happy with the scan, but in person the image is even more striking. The stamps, signature and other details make the work very special. Henry Denander also sent an excellent example of his asemic writing, which has been circulating in the Eternal Network lately to much acclaim.
Currently, the asemic writing arena has grown very contentious with endless bickering and uninvited rants and verbal assaults if one dares to use the term “asemic.” Most of the haters (zealots?) seem to be contending (of course I am generalizing) that most of what is being called “asemic” is just “visual poetry.” To a degree, I am sympathetic with this position, although I will continue to use the term “asemic." (Unfortunately, I moderate the IUOMA asemic writing group, which I inherited when Cheryl Penn left.)
Not long ago one unknown soldier of asemics posted disparaging but brilliant remarks on Facebook about asemic writing having degenerated into “motel room abstract art.” I agree. Yes, the asemic writing realm is becoming increasingly infested by uninspired abstract painters who have no understanding of the literary dimension of asemics. To mix a metaphor thoroughly, I believe the Motel Room School of Abstract Asemic Art is now sinking the ship. The bad money drives out the good, as they say, not the other way around.
I still cling to the concept of asemic writing, which means that asemics involve language and text. Asemic writing explores core issues concerning the nature of language. Yes, the form is hybrid: Involving a mix of textual and visual art. But it is not solely a subset of abstract painting, which – unfortunately – it is becoming at the hands of the Motel Room School of Abstract Asemic Art.
So I find Henry Denander’s back-to-basics asemic correspondence refreshing in the context of the current situation.
The fundamental question of the mail art is: “What would Charles Bukowski Do?” In terms of anything I can ascertain from Bukowski’s writing, he would want you to think for yourself.
Many thanks to Henry Denander for the great m-a!