The author: Theis Vallø Madsen (b. 1980) is an art historian and PhD student at Aarhus University working on a research project about mail art, network and archive. The basis of the project is Mogens Otto Nielsen’s mail art archive at KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg.
The artist: Mogens Otto Nielsen (b. 1945) is a Danish artist working with mail art, conceptual art, land art, paintings, sculptures, and much more. He works in his artlab in Northern Denmark “Atmosphere controlled”, where thousands of mail art letters have been going in and out since the seventies. Apart from mail art Mogens Otto Nielsen is renowned for his work with ants, icesculptures and book objects.
Mail art: Mail art stems from the American Fluxus movement in the early 1960’s. The American artist Ray Johnson (1927–1995) is considered to be the first mail artist, when he began sending art as mail while urging others to do the same; poetic texts, drawings, photographs, music, sound recordings – just anything that could fit in an envelope. It was an attempt to create art outside the institutions of art, about the spread of ideas, and about a new approach to art and life. It is not an artform created by one genius artist, and it is not really art until it is connected, shared or linked between a sender and a receiver.
The archive: The archive consists of a filing cabinet, a large collection of postcards and 18 boxes of binders, video tapes, cassettes, catalogs, posters, poetic texts, visual poetry, drawings, prints, photographs, books or book objects, and hundreds of other objects of oddly shapes and sizes.