Keep me posted! popped up as a project idea, while I was writing a short essay on an old postcard i bought several years ago on vacation in Croatia. The – very formal – blank card that had originally just the printed lines for the shipping address on it, was not used for holiday greetings and had nothing like a picture or a scenic view or whatever on it, but instead for a rather serious communication on behalf of a possible job offer for ones son (read the full essay here).
I also love to write – and buy – postcards, when i am on vacation and they have always been a keen kind of memorabilia to me since my childhood.
From that point on it was just a little step to the project. I wondered about the formality of the rectangular piece of cardboard, its universality nowadays and that a piece of cardboard is one of the essential mediums for art-production since hundreds of years and is therefore perfectly suited to start a research in creativity. What will different artists do with it today? What different aspects of the blankness and the material will appeal to the artists working in totally different fields – such as photography, conceptual art, drawing, painting and even visual poetry?
The setup for the project resembles a scientific experiment – every one of the artists receives the same letter and the same materials (a rectangular piece of heavy cardboard and a fitting envelope to it of the same material) and is told in a short letter to go ahaed and do with the materials whatever pleases him or her.
Sent out over the summer 2012 (beginning in june), the artists were told to sent the works back until the beginning of october. Afterwards the works will be archieved under the section “Submitted works”, numbered from #01 to #10 (if all do respond to the project, that is) in the order i received them.
In order to present all submitted works as equally as possible, the presentation will be in the form of an assemblage containing the letter, the envelope (that is a material to be worked on if wished) and the cardboard in one frame.
Beside of that the edition of postcards printed from the submitted works will be able to be looked at and to be bought in a bundle containing each work. The exhibition will take place in early 2013 in the gallery of the Morgenstern Foundation for artists in Budapester Straße in Berlin, sponsored by the Hotel Intercontinental.
Beside of its other implications, especially the research aspect and the questioning of the postcard today, keep me posted! can be seen as a mail art project and should be therefore connected to the history of Mail art, that does exist in several ways since the beginning of the modern age mailing system. As early as in the mid of the 19th century, writers and painters did sent small poems, scribblings and drawings from their holidays or just as an artistic way of keeping in touch. These early mailart objects did not have any conceptual background though. An increase in posted short-messages and drawings began with the invention of the postcard (1861 in the USA, 1865 in Prussia and some years later in whole Europe), originally a customized printed card or just a rectangular blank piece of board that was sent opnely with the mail and was therefore cheaper.
As an own new sujet in art history, mail art (or “correspondance art”, as it was first called by its inventor, Ray Johnson) first appears in the early sixties. Besides the material objects, mail art is what one could call a networking art, that focusses on the collaboration and communication between the acting subjects of the project. It was especially popular in avant-garde movements like Fluxus Neo DADA and others.
As a social and communicative medium, mail art was a matter of resistance in the former Eastern Bloc and during the dictatures in south america. It is also adapted by several subcultural groups like Punk as a way of expressing and distributing ideas and art inside the system of the subcultural scene.