Mail-art by Ben Vautier (Nice, France)
June 23, 2012 - This is my second "Fluxus Beat" blog where I post work I have received from artists in the international mail-art network who are part of Fluxus or working in the spirit of Fluxus. Ray Johnson, the U.S. artist who established the New York Correspondance School, associated with and was influenced by Fluxus and its roots begining with his introduction to John Cage at Black Mountain College. Fluxus became actively involved in the network in the 1960s and 70s and has maintained a strong presence ever since.
Unexpectedly, I received this postcard from Ben Vautier, who was a member of the original Fluxus in Europe (as well as New Realism) and is still active today. I imagine I received it because I am a follower of Fluxlist Europe. All the same, it is a thrill. Vautier's continued involvement in the network, similar to Yoko Ono's involvement for decades, reveals how the established artists who are connected with mail-art are committed to inclusiveness and encouraging the development of alternative culture and communities outside the mainstream.
One of Ben Vautier's works from the 196os has become iconic in mail-art, and many will recognize it. If he only created this one piece, he deserves a place in art history, IMHO. Yet he has done much more:
Here is the reverse side of Ben Vautier's card:
Needless to say, many thanks to Ben Vautier. He has an interesting blog that is definitely worth a visit:
Mail-art by IUOMA member State of Being (aka Reid Wood) (Oberlin, Ohio, USA)
Many IUOMA members are familiar with Reid Wood's work, or then again maybe not. He is also known as State of Being. Here and other places such as Open Fluxus, he sends a message: "Work Anonymously." I gather at least some of his hard work is off-the-grid and below the radar.
I think it is fair to say Reid Wood is a very active member of Fluxus today, whether you call it Luxus, Neo-Fluxus, Post-Fluxus or other things. (I gather there is serious discussion going on in that community concerning names.) After seeing some video of his performances (I'm sure from the Chicago Flux Fest), I thought it was high time to drop him a line and alert him to the Trashpo thing. He kindly responded with some material I can add to my Flux Fest file:
I like Reid Wood's art a lot, and I think his performances are classics in the Great Tradition of Fluxus, literally. Many thanks for a great mail-art exchange!
Add-and pass mail-art by IUOMA member liketelevisionsnow (Tamworth, New Hampshire, USA)
As his name suggests, liketelevisionsnow (ltvs) has always seemed to me both a presence and non-presence simultaneously. Maybe that's because I remember Neo and all those conspiracies ("The 14 Secert Masters of the Universe" or whatever that Blaster Al thing was) and people who did not really exist or were a dozen different people.
Sometimes ltvs makes me think of that, and I have to stick with facts. I have been aware of his work now for about two years. In addition to mail-art, I have seen some fantastic art he has done that places him solidly among contemporary Fluxus artists, IMHO.
Many IUOMA members know him through his projects, notably "12-12-2012." I always wish liketelevisionsnow and I could maintain a more consistent correspondence, but our temperments are probably too similar. So I was very happy to receive a copy of this add-and-pass zine project he is launching.
Add-and-pass is a foundation of mail-art that I personally have never done well, although I admire it when I see others do it. However, this zine concept really works for me so that I think I can add something worthwhile. Its my experience people love zines, and there is no reason why digital-print incarnations can't capture the experience. The nice part of it is liketelevisionsnow launched it with some of his own collage work I can share here:
The intro is great: "Network of Stoppages." I think the fingerprint-mugshot-police report (?) collage on the left really showcases what ltvs can do in terms of bringing you into unfamiliar emotional terrain you have to confront. He is able to build narratives with words and text in the way good vispo does; I think he is both a visual artist and a poet.
The add-and-pass has some transparent pages, so you get different effects.
On the right is more of the ltvs collage. Another problem I have with add-and-pass is pretty despicable. I like the work so much I want to keep it, but now that I have blogged and scanned this draft, I will quickly get it in the mail and do my part! And as I have written before, enter the labyrinthine world of ltvs, if you dare:
Mail-art by IUOMA Victoria Barvenko (Taganrog, Rostov region, Russia)
The FluxRus (Russian Fluxus) team of Victoria Barvenko and Svetlana Peteskaya are nothing short of a sensation in international mail-art. Their performance videos are fantastic as is the art they send. I have greatly enjoyed working on collaborative book projects with them, and I am a fan of their superb asemic writing and visual poetry. Additionally, they host tremendous Fluxus exhibitions in Russia that are documentated on video.
For this installment of "Fluxus Beat," I want to share this large collage with asemic writing Victoria sent me. I have book chapters from both Victoria and Svetlana, but not many stand-alone pieces like this.
I believe Victoria's understanding of asemics is very sophisticated. What I like most in this piece is the way figurative drawing flows in and out of the cursive writing stream. This seems simple and even logical, but I do not see much of this kind of drawing-writing synthesis in contemporary asemic work. So this is a great gem to add to my collection. Here is the reverse side:
Many thanks to the FluxRus gang! Let's stay in touch! They are organizing a Fluxus show in Russia that looks very interesting:
Mail-art by IUOMA member Samuel Montalvetti (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
A few weeks ago I blogged a chapter Samuel Montalvetti had contributed to the visual poetry collaborative book project. Considerably more material was included in the envelope that contained the chapter, including some pointedly Fluxus items such as this tiny book of Fluxus visual poetry. After examining it for some time, I removed the single staple (and later carefully re-assembled) because it was the only way I could scan the pages:
Taking an anti-art stance, Samuel made minimalist poems that focus on single letters, words, and words within words. He uses everyday materials, chance operations and takes an anti-art stance: All characteristics you will find in much Fluxus work.
Samuel all included some add-and pass materials and more conventional mail-art piece celebrating Fluxus:
I was very pleased to receive examples of Samuel Montalvetti's Fluxus and DaDa-based work in addition to his fantastic visual poetry. Many thanks! I look forward to many more exchanges. Make sure to visit Samuel's blog:
Mail- art by IUOMA member Bruno Cassaglia (Quiliano (SV), Italy)
For more than a year, I have followed Bruno Cassaglia's posts in the IUOMA gallery. They include painting, sculpture, visual poetry and performance documentations. He is an artist working in the spirit of Fluxus who is doing an astonishing amount of work. I am a big fan, and we have finally been able to connect with this first mail-art I have received from him: Very nice and playful vispo with text, images and asemics.
Here is Bruno's envelope with some interesting stamping:
Bruno provides a link to a great blog that connects you to all the exciting things going on in Italy:
Mail-art by IUOMA founder Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)
Friends know I have spent the last two months trying to organize my archives better (a common concern among mail-artists).
In previous blogs I have focused on hand-painted envelopes received from our IUOMA founder Ruud Janssen, who is also a contemporary Fluxus and conceptual artist. I have what I think is some spectacular material from inside those envelopes that has not yet been posted, such as this copy Ruud sent of his earlier work.
I had inquired about how long he had been doing the envelopes as well as subject matter he has covered. Many friends today, for instance, are familiar with Fluxus Words envelopes that are in circulation. In previous blogs I have also written about Litsa Spathi (aka Nobody), her Fluxus Poetics, poetry and event scores, among other things. I am very pleased to have this work that brings together Fluxus Heidelberg, visual poetry, and mail-art. Ruud included a nice note giving the background:
In terms of accessing, understanding and realizing the possibilities of what Fluxus did, does and can do for poetry, I think Litsa Spathi is the go-to source and few others can even hope to compare. You can find her work in many places on the net, but this is a good place to start:
Many thanks, as ever, to Ruud Janssen for the historic material and also to all the artists who are so generous and sent their work you see on this blog: "Fluxus never stops!"
"No! I prefer MinXus!"