YOU WERE ON MY MIND
Vittore Baroni / E.O.N. Archive present
YOU WERE ON MY MIND
You Were On My Mind is a personal/collective mail art exhibition curated from the 16th to the 30th of November 2008 by Vittore Baroni at the Maffei Arte Contemporanea gallery in Viareggio, Italy (www.maffeiarte.eu). On the opening day, Manitù Rossi of the group Le Forbici di Manitù sung his obsessive electronic version of the popular Sixties song You Were On My Mind, written by Sylvia Fricker and carried to success by We Five, Barry McGuire and others (in Italy, by Equipe 84). Fifteen different cover versions of the song were then used as a non-stop soundtrack to the exhibition.
Through years of correspondence, a mail artist builds a web of connections that are both physical (the materials exchanged) and psychic (the feeling of belonging to a community): the faces and stories of many different correspondents take permanent residence in your head, like telepathic links. You Were On My Mind is not a conventional one man show but a collection of traces and suggestions, in the form of collages, of the invisible web of creative interconnections weaved in over three decades, through postal contacts with hundreds of networkers from all corners of the world.
24 authors from 14 countries have been selected as a semi-random but meaningful sample of the “enlarged family” of mail art. In the first room of the exhibition, a letter size work (UniA4) from each author has been matched with a two-sided collage with the silhouette of Vittore’s head, containing visual references to the corresponding mail artist (the visitors could handle and turn the collages, so the show was constantly changing shape).
The networkers featured in the show were: Anna Banana, Keith Bates, John M. Bennett, Guy Bleus, Antonino Bove, Piermario Ciani, Ryosuke Cohen, Mike Dickau, Arturo Fallico, H.R. Fricker, I Santini Del Prete, Ray Johnson, Graciela Gutierrez Marx, Rea Nikonova, Jürgen O. Olbrich, Clemente Padin, Pawel Petasz, Marlon Vito Picasso, Joan Puig, Claudio Romeo, Günther Ruch, Carol Stetser, The Sticker Dude, Rod Summers.
In the second room of the gallery, with the floor covered by a paper carpet of yellow envelopes, was placed a series of tridimensional collages and installations, made with cardboard boxes found in the street, cut and covered with letters, envelopes and photocopies (a cheap and disposable kind of artwork, in the true spirit of mail art, without the pretentiousness of “framed” pieces).
These works included: a map of the planet emphasizing the density of mail artists in the various Continents, schemes of the mail art and networking experiences, and a big “castle made of cards” (each card with an enlarged sheet of E.O.N. artistamps) that visitors could modify. “Art today is nothing, if it’s not a game that we all play together”, read one box. Also in the room were some interactive pieces, where visitors could leave their texts and drawings on a “add to” sheet, or make their own envelopes with rubber stamps and postage stamps of the works in the show.
I take the opportunity of the DODODADA and IUOMA ning groups to present two complementary series of 24+24 different photos of the You Were On My Mind show, plus a bilingual version of this text, as a preview of the catalogue (with video of the opening performance on dvd) that will be produced soon as issue n. 98 of Arte Postale! magazine.
For more info: Vittore Baroni / E.O.N. Archive, via C. Battisti 339, 55049 Viareggio, Italy
VISIT my page on the IUOMA and DODODADA ning blogs to see the photos