Svenja Wahl and Brilliant Conceptual Mail Art

I sometimes get in the habit of blogging multiple pieces of mail art due to time constraints and volume, even though many of the works of art deserve their own independent posting. One of those amazing pieces, that I didn't want folks to miss, was a recent gift from Svenja Wahl that REALLY MADE MY DAY!!

 If you are looking at the photo of Svenja's envelope art here and are not laughing,... well, then you should get some more sunshine in your life. Personally, I found this HILARIOUS!  I myself was in a darkish mood after a stress-laden day at work... bemoaning the fact that not only was I beaten by the work-day, but that the day had already crept into darkness because of the autumnal season advancing so quickly.  When, lo-and-behold, in my mailbox at home was a piece of mailart from Svenja that had me giggling in the hallway before I even opened it--probably making all my neighbors curious (or reinforcing their perceptions of my sanity)!


The image seems like it must have been printed in some periodical, and Svenja had the creative gusto to turn it forthwith into something mail-able.  But she's altered it with her own imagined commentary.  For many of us, all old-timey artwork can seem useful--whether we use it for "vintage"-style collage, or to give our artwork a "timeless" character.  But it takes skill and a great sense of humor to alter it into something that can make us laugh with a short by-line!  Svenja has obviously got the knack!!


As if tickling my funny-bone on the outside of her mail art wasn't enough, she went in for the "kill" and did me in with her conceptual piece inside!!  There was a tiny note enfolding a tissue-wrapped little present--un petit cadeau taped-up in Tiffany-blue paper--well, who WOULDN'T be excited!  The best gifts come in small packages, right?

Inside were two different photo slides. These things are quickly, I think, becoming extinct as the world moves to the more convenient form of digital photography. Heaven knows where these slides came from, but they could've been used in any college class in the Archaeology Department or in an Art History lecture.  The first depicts some ancient statuary of embracing figures whose noggins have sadly been lost to history or the elements.  To this slide, Svenja has added the stamped by-line, "Mum, we want to get married..."  Cute, I think...

...Then realize it's more brilliant than cute when paired with the second slide...


The second slide depicts a matronly figure in stone relief--also of some ancient provenance.  To this slide, Svenja has added the punchline: "WITHOUT HEADS???!!"

Like I said, it takes a special artist to be able to find and alter and design a piece of mail that has curate-able values on its own. It takes an even more brilliant artist to do so and be able to elicit humor from the same creation. Laugh and the world laughs with you. Thanks for spreading smiles and laughter around, Svenja!! It is a most valuable talent of yours that I admire. Brava!

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Comment by Svenja Wahl on December 11, 2011 at 9:55am

KDJ, thank you. I'm sitting on my bed on a sunny sunday morning and I'm laughing because I'm in the new collaborative Vispo book too and for the last days I'm thinking and was not brave enough to admit that I don't REALLY know what vispo is!! ;-))) 

Comment by Amy Irwen on November 2, 2011 at 4:09pm

Thom, you make each piece of mail art special...thank you for that...

Svenja is an awesome artist!!!


Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 2, 2011 at 4:02pm
Thom, the commentary dazzles. Svenja does such wonderful and interesting work; it's a treat indeed to have such a thoughtful perspective on what it's all about.
Comment by Marie Wintzer on November 2, 2011 at 9:53am
Cheryl is already cooking a fab "Talking Heads" idea, I can feel it... :-))
Comment by cheryl penn on November 2, 2011 at 9:30am
This is great! I wonder who will find the Talking Heads? :-) X
Comment by Svenja Wahl on November 2, 2011 at 8:28am

Thom, thank you very much for the kind blog, now you make my day in advance, a great start in the morning to read such nice words!! I'm glad you liked (and laughed at) it!!

Thanks for your kind comments, friends, - Lesley, I think this art-needing is contagious .... ;-))

Comment by Lesley Magwood Fraser on November 2, 2011 at 7:35am
GREAT sense of humour Svenja and yes, we all NEED art!
Comment by Marie Wintzer on November 2, 2011 at 12:04am
That's a great blog. That slide made me laugh, and still does :-))) brilliant Svenja as usual!
Comment by Thom Courcelle on November 1, 2011 at 11:39pm
Thanks Nancy and Lisa-- I KNOW, right?? Pleasant surprises indeed from that Svenja!
Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on November 1, 2011 at 10:38pm
You just made my day by posting this, Thom--it is witty and brilliant, and I love it. That Svenja, she is full of surprises. Thank you ...



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