Friday, August 27, 2004

What is Mail? Who is Art?

A postcard (#361 CXCPC--color xerox card[?] photocard)arriving at my home has Roy Arenella thinking about my discussion of correspondence as art. His thinking leads him to a conclusion of interest to mailartists:

According to the disposition of the sender, the term mail art is accented either on the word "mail" or the word "art".

So some mailart is more of a letter, and some mailart is more an intentional esthetic object. Or mailart is still mail, and mail is still art. Or whenever we mail art, it is correspondence. Or some days, mail; some days, art. Or artists can't avoid mail, and correspondents can't avoid art. Or mailart is a hybrid of a hybrid, sometimes taking the form of a letter, sometimes taking esthetic form.

To extend the discussion, Roy decorates the obverse of the card with a fluxist axiom by Ben Vautier ("art does not exist"), and he adds the word "FINE" in a clear Arenellian hand. (I once spent the night at the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, and in my quarters rested a large contraption filled with fluxist pieces by Vautier, most decorated with Vautier's handwriting--so I recognized his hand immediately. Also, it's hard to avoid knowledge of Vautier if you live in my realm.)

Roy Arenella and Ben Vautier,
"FINE art does not exist" (20 Mar 2001)

Many of Vautier's pieces actually revolve around aphoristic evaluations of art. But he turns a spotlight on other areas of knowledge as well, as with the following found on his website:

Ben Vautier, "rien n'existe pas" (1991)

Here he tells us "nothing doesn't exist," a sentence that takes a bit of mind-twisting to force it show us all its meanings.

un violon d'ingres


Anonymous said...

i know you posted this almost a year ago but i just read it.

correspondence as art makes me think only of Nick Bantock and the books he wrote. Griffin and Sabine.

Geof Huth said...

Certainly, Bantock's "Griffin and Sabine" (and continuing) show a mailart influence, but the true source of his inspirations seems to me to be the epistolary novel, an entire story told through letters exchanged by the characters.


lydie said...

salut ba c'est tout ce que j'ai compris de ton blog
si tu veux je te donne le mien
salut et bisous