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Title: Transgressive networks : mail art, circulation and communication in and out of Latin America, 1960s-1980s
Author: Gilbert, Susannah
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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The circulation of ideas and images outside institutions, particularly mail art and its legacies, has been neglected in art history, while many mail art works remain un-researched and un-exhibited. The reappraisal of mail an networks provokes a critical examination of the historical moment of the 1960s to 1980s, as well as its relationship to present day art practice. This thesis tells some of the stories of mail art's complex history across and beyond Latin America, tracing a multifaceted trail of contacts and exchanges both within and outside the continent. It considers the ways in which artists used cultural and geographical distance productively to rethink key issues in art to question the status of the an object, to disavow the institutionalised art world and to propose new forms of expression and community. In so doing, the thesis probes some of the most fundamental issues facing those thinking about transnational artistic production from the 1970s until the present day. The thesis is not a straightforward history of the mail art movement in Latin America. Rather, it attempts to harness the aesthetic of chance, disarray and transgression that marks mail art, focusing on 'nodes' in the mail art network and radiating outwards. These crucibles of activity include the group of mail artists active in Recife (particularly Paulo Bruscky) and the Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Sao Paulo (MAC-USP) in Brazil; the Beau Geste Press in the UK, run by David :Mayor, Felipe Ehrenberg and Martha Hellion; the small city of La Plata (through the work of Edgardo Antonio Vigo) and the Buenos Aires-based Centre for Art and Communication (CAYC) in Argentina; as well as Clemente Padio's activities in Montevideo, Uruguay. While the study focuses on a core group of artists hailing from Latin American countries, at times we find ourselves in the UK, East Germany or North America, echoing mail art's ability to transcend borders and geographical boundaries. The transgression of a host of ordering systems emerges as a central preoccupation of artists within this network.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available