(This performance was created as a homage to Mail Art.
Both performers were Mail Artists in the seventies.)


Laszlo Kerekes


( © Osteuropa im internationale Netzwerk - MAIL ART / Staatliches Museum Schwerin / 1996 > CATALOG)

Writing from a distance of 25 years about the Mail Art of "Bosch+Bosch", the exemplary neo-vanat-gardist group of artists which existed in one of the peripheries of the geopolitical spheres of that time, certainly different aspects and still open questions could be pushed into the limelight.

Because the talk is about an active "Mail Art-Network" as a phenomenon that has already ended, we might resall either the origins and historical circumstances the necessarily flexible, alternative art forms in the ideologically divided blocks, or we might recall a deliberate, individualistic discovery of the artists, to encounter each other in the world by mail, despite the limited context.

The group"Bosch+Bosch" was launched at the beginning of the seventies in Subotica in the former Yugoslavia. At that time this multi-national city lay in the shadow of the so-called "Iron Curtain", on the border between Yugoslavia and Hungary, to be exact. It is probably no coincidence that this group of young artists, seeking a broker's role from the very beginning, came together at this point which was well observed by both powers. Before ist tragic collapse, Yugoslavia itself was a "gap" between East and West. The artists Slavko Matkovic, Balint Szombathy, Laszlo Szalma and Laszlo Kerekes initiated one of the first artist groups in Eastern Europe that was clearly influenced by the "lifestyle revolution" and the contemporary idea of the trans-border "Total Communication".

Although their artistic media were very simple, they had no complex about participating from the start in the continuously widening Mail Art chain. At the beginning there was no dogmatically standardized network, rather only a free exchange of artistically equipped, smaller and larger, sometimes extremly unusual postcards. Often the items resemblled Fluxus objects of material collages with a subcultural aesthetic of ist own. The repeated experience of "feedback" from all over initiated more complicated projects later (1972-1974) and culminated in numerous Mail Art-ctions in Europe, America etc.

Perhaps the access to the equipment of such works is precisely the level on which the spontaneously new, reduced froms of language and expression of the seventies could develop. It is perhaps also important to bear in mind that at that time the first copy machines were just coming into use, and language was influenced by comics iconography.

Most of the Mail Art works, decorated with colorful postage stamps and officially stamped, were falsely collected often as "atistic communication trash" in a fetishist manner, although their messages primarily emphasized zheir ephemeral ideas, and not their objectification. As regards the message, the important components of a relative time shift by mail always had to be taken into account. The artists of "Bosch+Bosch" frequently used self-made stamps. The imprint of a stamp often ended up not only on postcards, but also on the artists' bodies. Photo documents of these actions then served in turn as motifs of Mail Art.

A more precise analysis of Mail Art of the seventies should take into consideration ist conceptual character. In a time when Mail Art had a specific importance, an attempt was made to create a "planetary language" in easily accessible, uncomplicated practice. Traces of the dreams of freedom: Only the homing pigeons were able to surmount the walls. The walls have fallen, but now the planets of the universe are marked out as ever before.