In the Post

“Every day is like Monday now.” Terry, the postman told me in the first week of December. And adding to the increasing load of mail was Brunswick Arts Space’s exhibition, fund raising and mail art project, Going Postal.

The artists have donated the work to the exhibition and a silent auction is running throughout the exhibition. Fund raising auctions are a common way that Melbourne artist run initiatives (ARI) get sufficient money to keep going, as they have no sponsors or government grants.

The art, artist’s letter (often with instruction on how to assemble of hang the art) and envelope, postal tube, cardboard carton or other packaging was all displayed. This system of exhibiting gave coherence to an otherwise disparate exhibition of drawings, collages, CDs, paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture, postcards and other things sent to Brunswick Arts by post. There was no selection and what ever was posted was exhibited under whatever name the artist choose; this included an invite to participate in a group exhibition in Portugal. The exhibition brought out the jokers along with the usual ARI artists, like Anne Kucers of Trocadero Art Space or Alistair Karl of Brunswick Arts Space.

Mail art was a big underground art movement back in the 1970s, before snail mail was overtaken by email. One of the aims of Mail Art was to provide an alternative to gallery art, so it is odd that it has now returned to galleries. This did not stop Mail Artists like Ryosuke Cohen from Japan in participating. There was also a Fluxus found sound 7” single from Keith A Bucholz in the USA; Fluxus used the postal system like no other art movement since Dada and the subsequent Mail Art movement was influenced by Fluxus attitudes.

The heaviest work posted must have been Liz Walker’s postcard made of found steel-plate. With postcards like these small wonder postmen are complaining.

About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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