In a time of self-inflicted agony of newspapers and magazines, the thickness of the stack of advertising brochures is also steadily decreasing. My grandparents got the fish wrapped in an old newspaper at the fishmonger’s. My parents got all the advertising brochures from the supermarket chains wrapped in the weekly paper magazines. To me, these magazines seemed like packaging for all the advertising to visit these temples of consumption and pay tribute to the economic miracle. The smell of fish had somehow remained the same.
On the way to the Great Reset, these brochures are now also going digital. The supermarket chains are replacing brochures with apps. The special offers – i.e. all offers – can only be browsed through in advance if you take your smartphone. When I was asked 35 years ago what it would mean if everyone had a handheld device that gave access to the whole web, I said: “The time will come when they will not be allowed to switch it off. “
There is still a long way to go before then. But the way is the goal. And along the way, orientation should be clear, more screen time, added value in pixels. In the picture “Der Bauerntanz” from the artist Pieter Brueghel d.Ä. (1525 – 1569) also immortalized the earthenware ceramics from Siegburg, a little city in Germany. After 500 years, art still speaks about everyday life. In this way, it helps to classify, to allocate.
In the summer of 2023, one of the largest European food chains stopped producing advertising inserts. What used to be handed out in the weekly magazine is now located in the digital world. So it’s time to create a contemporary piece of art. The collages “re-cycle” for Mail Art provide the space. Paper lasts 270 years if you store it well. Well, this may not entirely apply to the poor quality of the brochures, but surely these artifacts in collage art will live longer than the apps they replace in the present.
At the same time, excerpts from old photos from the beginning of the CASAdelDRAGON in Spain have accumulated. So they find their way onto envelopes that are sent all over the world in 2023. Knowing full well that some Mail Art artists create archives and also collect, catalog and conserve the envelopes, two worlds meet, that of art production and that of advertising. Both leave behind entropy. And both classify themselves as contemporary art. With their journey into the world of art they convert into something new, something preserving. But it’s not just the glue that connects them. It connects them the time epoch (before the great reset). And they share the message for the future. Nothing is permanent, something is not.
Anyone who no longer believes that people went into little red or yellow houses to make long-distance calls, i.e. left the house, will tell their unbelieving grandchildren in his future about a time when old-fashioned artists exchanged messages in paper envelopes. He will have kept some mail art for proof. But it will be difficult for him to get his grandchildren to open their eyes. They will simply ask him to digitize it and if he can no longer do this to please stop reporting this nonsense.
Or maybe the grandchildren will sit by the fire, look at the entrance to the cave and see the shadows on the wall when the old grandpa comes out of the dark night, opens his pouch and unfolds an envelope with a trembling hand. They will look at the collages, wondering who these people were, how they lived, and why they stuck this paper like that. Maybe they will use it to wrap it around a fish they want to keep and they will laugh.