LOMHOLT MAIL ART ARCHIVE, FOTOWERKE AND VIDEO WORK
A Book Project on Mail Art
640 pages. 3333 illustrations.
Including essays by Charlotte Præstegaard Schwartz, Helge Krarup, Jørgen Michaelsen, Peter Laugesen, Peter van der Meijden og Niels Peter Lomholt.
Published with support from
24,5 x 17 x 5 cm.
Price: € 65
© 2010 Lomholt Formular Press, Denmark.
Editors: Niels Lomholt, Lene Denhart.
Translation: Lene Denhart.
Copy editor: Glen Garner.
Layout: Lene Denhart.
Printing: Narayana Press, Denmark.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Posted on marts 10th, 2011 – Vittore Baroni writes:
The mail art phenomenon, maybe the first truly global experiment in creative networking, arose in the Sixties (with notable pioneers dating back to Futurism and Dada) and reached a peak in the flurry of activities of the Eighties, involving thousands of authors worldwide. After that, in the Nineties the so called “Eternal Network” began its slow metamorphosis from paper-based exchanges to digital contacts, on account of the increasing postage rates and of the spreading of the Internet. This also meant that researchers and networkers alike have started to gain, in recent years, a more detached, objective and scientific perspective on the subject of postal art, with the appearance in print of essays meant to document with impartiality the history, theories and techniques of creative correspondence.
2010 in particular has seen the publication of several new books devoted to mail art, like the general survey of the genre written in Argentina by veteran networker Graciela Gutierrez Marx, or titles dedicated to single postal art “legends” and projects, like the well researched Amazing Letters: The Life and Art of David Zack edited in Canada by Istvan Kantor, the monography Pêle-Mêle by and about the extraordinary Belgian mail artist Guy Bleus, or International Union Of Mail-Artists overview 1988-2008 by the Dutch networker Ruud Janssen, about twenty years of his IUOMA project (not to mention several interesting catalogues, like From BMC to NYC – The Tutelary Years of Ray Johnson 1943-1967, for a show at the notorious Black Mountain College of Asheville, NC).
But by far the most outstanding (and unexpected) mail art-related tome of 2010 has been the huge Lomholt Mail Art Archive, Fotowerke and Video Works edited in Denmark by Niels Peter Lomholt and Lene Aagaard Denhart for Lomholt Formular Press. With its 640 pages in a heavy and precious cloth-bound edition, richly illustrated in colour, this book is a milestone effort that documents the several personal and collective projects organized by veteran networker N.P. Lomholt since the early Seventies. Publications of this kind usually focus on the documentation of a single project or of the body of work of a single artist, but even if the personality of Lomholt is at the centre of the essays by various art critics and experts that constitute the textual frame of the book, over 3000 (!) photographs and images also document in detail the kind of relationships established by Lomholt with hundreds of contacts worldwide, some of which (from Al Ackerman to David Zack) were seminal figures in the early phases of correspondence art. The several “formular” projects in particular, consisting in (often cryptic) printed forms to be completed by the various correspondents, constitute a clever variation of the traditional “add to and return” mail art practice and a fruitful device to combine personal areas of interest (and obsession) and a multifaceted collective feedback. The book – that requires sharp eyesight or a magnifying glass to study the more miniaturized documents – is a fair representation of Lomholt’s mail art archive, with illuminating insights into the process of postal exchange (read in particular the warm and intuitive “Letter from Aunt Sara” by Danish poet and art critic Peter Laugesen), all in all constituting a sort of blueprint for a new kind of mail art study that hopefully others will imitate in the near future. If mail art has been most of all a private and underground phenomenon, while we acquire a much needed historical perspective we also need more books that can document the ideas and treasures contained in the archives that were in the “eye of the mail-storm”.
Vittore Baroni (Forte dei Marmi, 1956) is an Italian music critic and explorer of the counter-cultures. Since the mid-1970’s he is also one of the most active and respected promoters of the planetary circuit of mail art. He has written or edited various books on aspects of the “networking cultures” that anticipated Internet, among which is the mail art guide Arte Postale- Guida al network della corrispondenza creativa (AAA Edizioni, Bertiolo, 1997). E.O.N. Archive, Via C. Battisti 339, 55049 Viareggio, Italy - email@example.com
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GET THIS TO RICHARD LARTER
Have had quick browse through the LOMHOLT BOOKWERKE – pretty amazing stuff, a major job to pull this together and done so well. Provides a good slice of what was happening in Niels sweep of the horizon during that space of time, although does not investigate the foundation or more recent electronic shifts.
He certainly balances his coverage, representing artists he was connected to in a highly reasonable way - think it should meet their critical demands…..AND I like the way he has balanced this so, not only is it useful as a research tool, but a casual browser can as easily enjoy it…….it could easily have been an unrelenting and tiresome catalogue, but instead has balance and flow. Think it was an excellent idea to highlight his chief correspondents in the A-Z section so that the reader/viewer gets a full visual four-course meal from a selection of artists; also like how that further allows cross-overs in imagery between the artists, e.g.: Lomholt formats from former group projects provide internal page grids within the pages for numerous artists; Pat L gets to romp and rant from her own extensive pages into the pages of so many of her/his correspondents – in this regard, I do not remember anyone else giving us such a rich feast as Niels has done with this publication.
Terry Reid, Australia
Mail Art Activist