Mail art [2003]
Mail art [2003]

Mail art [2003]


In the context of the Manif d’art 2, Manifestation internationale d’art de Québec collaborated on an exhibition of international mail art with Institut Canadien de Québec and Jean-Claude Gagnon of Collective Réparation de Poésie. Readily accessible to the general public, the exhibition was shown in Québec City from April 22 to May 18, 2003 at the Gabrielle-Roy municipal library.(1).

The exhibition brought together more than 300 artists from 38 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Inspired by the Happiness and Pretence theme of the Manif d’art 2, the 4- x 6-inch pieces took the form of artist stamps, visual poetry, collages, computer-generated or -assisted work, hand-drawn work, photographs, paintings, etc. The general public and school groups were invited to create a piece of mail art on site to be subsequently displayed in the exhibition hall.

(1) Formed in 1986, Collectif Réparation de Poésie is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to link poetry and visual arts and to establish international mail art in Québec City and regionally. To attain its objectives, it organizes a biannual event entitled Réparation de Poésie, incorporating an exhibition, performances and workshops of “regional nature poetry,’ for which occasion nature is confronted with poetry.



There is nothing new about the close-knit complicity of mail and art. Many artists have used mail to spread their work. Think of the quatrains Mallarmé made from the addresses on his envelopes. With Chaissac, Picasso, Matisse, Léger, Braque and many others, the letter became a support for artistic creation. Mail art’s second life may be attributed to the Dadaists and Futurists who, in the 1920s, exchanged poems, collages and letters with addresses written as rebuses. As heirs of these artistic trends, and in protest to the “official’ art of galleries, creators in the 1960s used mail as a way to spread their work. The result was work decorated with artists’ stamps, personalized vignettes and unusual objects sent through the post. More than a way to make art, mail art is a vector of communication. Beyond using mail as a medium for artistic expression, artists also drew inspiration from the medium itself..