Postal Art, also known as mail art, is a mixture of art with postal, telephone, and internet communication strategies. It includes the use of faxes, letters, parcels, emails, messages recorded on answering machines, notes, postcards, stamps and stamps, postage stamps, and a long etcetera. We are talking about artistic manifestations transported by communication services provided by the government, private companies, and individuals. When art instead of resorting to messaging processes uses communication media, or advertising strategies such as billboards, advertisements on social networks, we are talking no longer about mail art; but about public art. In a way; mail art continues to preserve an aura of privacy. Even when the artist or the recipient of the work decides at some point to make it public, or even when the exhibition of the artworks is an integral part of the process. As we know, the spaces for artistic interference are demographically less, facing the spaces for advertising, especially if we are talking about media monopolies; large companies that with different names monopolize a series of spaces and audiences. Mail art is not an «ism», a «neo» or a «post» of artistic movements. Mail art and its various manifestations make up an artistic genre such as public art, video art, painting, photography, etc. It is one of the forms of expression of the visual and conceptual arts.
Mail art has some characteristics such as fragility and disruption. As for fragility, this is because the means of communication used can alter the work or the meaning set by the creator, this depends on vicissitudes and coincidences. If the discussion of art tends to be related to the substance or the form, in mail art we also take into account the means or channel of communication used – (sender, message, and means used to make it reach the receiver). The communication medium influences the substance and the form of the message. Another characteristic; it has predominantly an anti-commercial and anti-consumer character, of disruption. Much of the mail-art circulates outside the art market – galleries and art fairs – and only recently has its inclusion in museums, representatives of the art status quo, been institutionalized.
Among the precursors of mail art, we can mention the Dada and Futurist movements, as well as the artists Marcel Duchamp, and the members of Fluxus: George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, Ben Vautier, Joseph Beuys, Ken Friedman, Ray Jonson, Vostell, among others. Among the creators of the 20th century we have Jan Bas Ader (Netherlands – United States), Clemente Padín (Uruguay), Pedro Lyra (Brazil), Liliana Porter and Luis Camnitzer (Argentina), Felipe Ehrenberg, Omar Gasca, Ra’al Ki Victorieux (Mexico).
In Mexico, there is the Museum of Philately, MUFI, in the city of Oaxaca, a private initiative project, which has a collection of mail art. The main shareholder is Alfredo Harp Helú, a baseball fan, and collector of philately. On occasions, the museum has had the support of the Oaxacan Institute of Cultures. In 1999 the MUFI launched the call for postal art with the theme of the millennium, in which Ra’al Ki Victorieux participated with a work related to the participation of women in the history of art, which appeared in the resulting exhibition, and in the catalog entitled «Postal Art towards the new millennium.» Among other projects that promote this genre, we can mention the International Biennial of Experimental Visual Poetry, which was held for some years in Mexico City, and included mail art in its activities.
What would the average Latin American answer if we asked him what he thinks about mail art? Is it a common knowledge topic, is it talked about in art education, we find exhibitions, bibliography, research, mail art publications in the day a day? Perhaps many still do not know what it is about. Even though most art professionals are familiar with this type of artistic genre, and children are sometimes invited to engage in recreational and cultural activities associated with postal art, surely it could be beneficial to promote this genre a little more due to his creative and communicative nobility.
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