Postcards from the Edge

by Arthur on Friday, April 22, 2011

in 20th-Century,Art,Mail Art,Underground

Artists’ postcards from the collection of Ulises Carrión, comprised of approximately 900 individual items in 108 small edition sets (most 50-500 copies) by Günter Brus, Stempelplaats, Nickolaus Urban, and Gabor Toth, among others, many signed by the artists and addressed to Carrión.  [44030]

Brus, Gunter "O Wunder, Wunderschone Sonne," suite of four postcard prints, N.p., 1978.  Signed and dated by Brus, with dedidication to Carion on verso of first card.

Brus, Gunter "O Wunder, Wunderschone Sonne," suite of four postcard prints, N.p., 1978. Signed and dated by Brus with dedication to Carrión on verso of first card.

Without so much as an envelope to keep their contents private, postcards may be our most casual yet intimate mode of personal correspondence. We send them to our friends and colleagues to boast of our visits to exotic locales, natural wonders and art museums.  The gesture implies fondness and familiarity with the addressee—“wish you were here,” etc.  And though they sometimes depict works of art, we seldom think of them as substantial works of art unto themselves.

However, these very same qualities of lightness and informality happened to make the postcard an ideal medium for a certain stripe of visual artist in the 1970s and 1980s. As the founder of Other Books and So (an artists’ bookstore in Amsterdam), Ulises Carrión championed self-publishing and correspondence art as alternatives to the market-driven, commodity-obsessed gallery system. For nearly two decades prior to his untimely death in 1989, Carrión exchanged self-published books, pamphlets, postcards and mail art with a like-minded constellation of artists and poets scattered across several continents, carefully preserving the material in his archives as it arrived in the post.

GROSCHOPP, Michael.  Magdeburg 1983.  “The Eyes of the Children” : 9 post cards in envelope.

GROSCHOPP, Michael. Magdeburg 1983. “The Eyes of the Children” : 9 post cards in envelope.

F.A. Bernett has recently acquired a significant collection of artists’ postcards from Carrion’s repository. Not only does it shed important new light on the collaborative context of his work, it also reminds us that the humble postcard served as an important “exhibition” venue and working medium for some of the late 20th-century’s most prominent avant-garde artists. From conceptual art multiples to curated sets of artist-designed cards, the collection presents a strikingly diverse cross section of movements and concerns from the time.

Mela Post Card Book

NANNUCCI, Maurizio/BIANCOENERO. Florence (Mela) 1979. “MELA POST CARD BOOK”: curated selection of 48 postcards in slip case. (clockwise from upper left): Ed Ruscha, John Cage, Gerd & Hilla Becher, Dorothy Ianone, Ray Johnson, Jirí Kolár, Milan Knizak, Emmett Williams.

Liggins, John.  Amsterdam (Self-published) 1975.  “Elemental Cards”: 4 postcards.

LIGGINS, John. Amsterdam (Self-published) 1975. “Elemental Cards”: 4 postcards.

BRAND, Jan.  N.p. (Brummense Uitgeverij van Luxe Werkjes) 1974.  3 postcards in envelope.

BRAND, Jan. N.p. (Brummense Uitgeverij van Luxe Werkjes) 1974. 3 postcards in envelope.

Carrión participated (or was directly implicated) in several of the correspondence projects, including this mail art set by Franz Immoos, and Jurgen Olbrich’s “Work for a Friend,” below.

IMMOOS, Franz. Amsterdam (Self-published) 1979. 6 original rubber stamped postcards in envelope.

IMMOOS, Franz. Amsterdam (Self-published) 1979. 6 original rubber stamped postcards in envelope.

OLBRICH, Jürgen O.  Kassel (Self-published) 1982.  “Work for a Friend”: 13 postcards in folder.  Edition of 100 numbered and signed copies.

OLBRICH, Jürgen O. Kassel (Self-published) 1982. “Work for a Friend”: 13 postcards in folder. Edition of 100 numbered and signed copies.

And as one might expect, works by Ray Johnson—here the self-professed “Ding Dong Daddy of Mail Art”—appear among several sets.

STEMPELPLAATS.  Amsterdam, 1978.  4 original rubber stamped postcards in envelope, incl. work by Ray Johnson.

STEMPELPLAATS. Amsterdam, 1978. 4 original rubber stamped postcards in envelope, incl. work by Ray Johnson.

The exchange of correspondence between mail artists functioned as a parallel universe for many participants, both known and unknown, allowing them to sidestep the concerns of gallery owners, critics and collectors, whom Carrión famously derided as a caste of professionally-minded “specialists.”

BAILLY, Bernard J.  Nyon (Self-published) n.d.  “Traces Animales. Série A: 50 asticots”: 8 postcards in envelope.

BAILLY, Bernard J. Nyon (Self-published) n.d. “Traces Animales. Série A: 50 asticots”: 8 postcards in envelope.

CAVELLINI, Guglielmo A.  Brescia (Self-published) 1987.“Serie Artisti Anomali: Cavellini/Arcimboldo”.  7 postcards in folder.  (International Postage 333).

CAVELLINI, Guglielmo A. Brescia (Self-published) 1987.“Serie Artisti Anomali: Cavellini/Arcimboldo”. 7 postcards in folder. (International Postage 333).

BZDOK, Henryk.  Katowice (Edition BZZZ Workshop) 1978. 10 postcards, profusely rubber stamped with original additions.

BZDOK, Henryk. Katowice (Edition BZZZ Workshop) 1978. 10 postcards, profusely rubber stamped with original additions.

STURANI, Enrico.  Roma (Museo del Folklore) 1981.  NUOVE CARTOLINE: 42 postcards.  Exhibition catalogue.

STURANI, Enrico. Roma (Museo del Folklore) 1981. NUOVE CARTOLINE: 42 postcards. Exhibition catalogue.

STURANI, Enrico.  Roma (Museo del Folklore) 1981.  NUOVE CARTOLINE: 42 postcards.  Exhibition catalogue.

STURANI, Enrico. Roma (Museo del Folklore) 1981. NUOVE CARTOLINE: 42 postcards. Exhibition catalogue.

Keeping with the aesthetics of the larger movement, several of the postcard works are harshly critical of consumer culture.

KRISTMUNDSSON, Steingrimur E.  N.p. (Self-published) 1978.  “The Act of Consuming...”: 16 postcards.

KRISTMUNDSSON, Steingrimur E. N.p. (Self-published) 1978. “The Act of Consuming...”: 16 postcards.

Work by G.G. Marx from FERRO, Antonio.  Naples (Experimenta) 1977.  POST CARDS: Wrpps., unpaginated.  10 original postcards, each one numbered and signed.  Edition of 200 copies.   (H. Tress, E.A. Vigo, R. Rehfelt, A. Ferro, R. Peli, L. Yurcovic, G.G. Marx, H. Zabala, U Attardi).

Seriograph by G.G. Marx from FERRO, Antonio. Naples (Experimenta) 1977. POST CARDS: Wrpps., unpaginated. 10 original postcards, each one numbered and signed. Edition of 200 copies. (H. Tress, E.A. Vigo, R. Rehfelt, A. Ferro, R. Peli, L. Yurcovic, G.G. Marx, H. Zabala, U Attardi).

Others—including a stunning group of cards relating to the Solidarity movement in Poland—address urgent political and social concerns.

SOLIDARNOSC: 41 postcards in folder.  Invitation to the project.  Exhibition’s announcement and participants list.

SOLIDARNOSC: 41 postcards in folder. Invitation to the project. Exhibition’s announcement and participants list.

Carrión and his circle understood how a mailed artwork could function as a talisman of its maker, even if he or she might not be able to complete the same journey in person.  Prior to the era of our digital immanence via Facebook, Skype, Twitter and a host of other electronic avatars, this was a powerful magic indeed…

McINERNEY, Bary.  Point Richmond, CA (Designers) 1978.  “A Book of 10 Warm, Friendly Post Cards”: 10 postcards bound by staples.McINERNEY, Bary. Point Richmond, CA (Designers) 1978. “A Book of 10 Warm, Friendly Post Cards”: 10 postcards bound by staples.
HOFFBERG, Judith/HUGO, Joan.  Glendale, CA 1978.  “Artwords and Bookworks”: 92 postcards, offset, folder.

HOFFBERG, Judith/HUGO, Joan. Glendale, CA 1978. “Artwords and Bookworks”: 92 postcards, offset, folder.

SCHNEIDER, Wolfgang. Magdeburg, DE, 1985.  "The Dream Creation" : 9 postcards, offset.

SCHNEIDER, Wolfgang. Magdeburg, DE, 1985. "The Dream Creation" : 9 postcards, offset.


Please contact us
for more information about the Carrión collection of artists’ postcards, including its price and availability.

FAB Item I.D. # 44030.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

{ 1 trackback }

jyuenger » Various And Sundry
Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 8:15 AM

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 olga corrales Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 9:43 AM

MAIL ART – NO violence against women

Invitation to participate in the International Mail Art Project, theme Women and our social-political situations in where we live, being a reflection of the situation of women, both struggles and achievements as naturalized in violence today.

http://miradasypostales.blogspot.com.ar/

We appreciate the participation and dissemination of project

Terms and Conditions for LOOKS AND POSTCARDS
LOOKS AND POSTCARDS: An international exchange of art,
ideas, friendship, and looks of a world that manifests itself artistically, being a social reflection.NO violence against women

He invited artists-No calls to make Mail Art Artists.
Reflecting the political-social situation of women in their countries,
for the “Gathering of Artists for Non-violence against women” to be held
Bahia Blanca, Argentina, November 25, 2012 under the International Day of Nonviolence
Against Women and then go
the countries of this event and continue to participate in samples
galleries and / or street.

Techniques; Free (photographs, collage, paintings, prints, writings, poems, etc.)
All writings, poems, verses, sentences must be passed into English and Spanish.

Size: Free, depending on the resources of each place and each artist, you can also reach
agreement if the country has a host-coordinator.

Quantity: Free

Closing date for receipt: 10/09/2012.

Artists lxs created and / or postcards intervene on one side, leaving the adverse side
target for intervention of the public who visit the exhibition.

The works must be coming to Bahia Blanca, Argentina in August-September
outlet.

No jury, no return, no works comercialización.Todas
will be published online in the blog-http :/ / miradasypostales.blogspot.com.ar /

We’ll select all entries received that do not qualify unless the
the criterion of the proposed theme.

Participation in this call is free and implies knowledge
and full acceptance of the conditions thereof.

Each country will have a host who is responsible for advising participating artists lxs
Explaining type of paper, weights, measurements, date and mode of delivery, and in the case of countries that do not have, at the discretion of each artist.
.
The Post should be sent in a sealed envelope along with personal information to this address before Sept. 10, 2012

Olga Corrales
Address: Libertad No 3756-Ing White
Bahia Blanca-Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina
C.P. 8000

IMPORTANT: Also send pictures in JPG format (preferably not too heavy) to the following e mail:
corralesolga@hotmail.com
ipoca@yahoo.com.ar
Will be uploaded to the blog http://miradasypostales.blogspot.com.ar/

For people who want to reflect the situations of women in our land, with those structures dehumanised, to be the art who will educate, inform, salv
e, and denature such violence
Showing doors outside, inside, down the carpet, and what happens in the room q, in the kitchen, with phobias killer, what happens in the q networks around the world, in politics, in lxs infiltradxs with our desterradxs origins, that involves us all the comrades, that is personal, that is political, q is social.
Looks and Postcards
miradasypostales.blogspot.com

2 Nina ward Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 4:24 AM

If anyone knows John Liggins would you forward my email address. Lost contact with him in 1975 in Leicester . Thanks Nina and Stewart Ward

3 Courtney Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Thank you for sharing this :-)

4 Hetty Huisman Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 3:49 AM

I should like to know the price of John Liggins ‘element cards’- 1975.
thank you,
best regards,
hetty huisman

5 Arthur Friday, April 22, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Thank you Michael, and thanks for re-posting to the A.1.Mail Art Archive!

6 Michael Leigh Friday, April 22, 2011 at 9:19 AM

Excellent post – good to see these from the good ol’ days before the internet.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post: