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.

18 Responses to About

  1. Αrticle rudement captivant !!

  2. gros nibards says:

    Εncore un bon post : je pense en parler plus tard avec mes potes

  3. Dan Leng says:

    I just came across your website and find it (and mail art) an amazing inspiration. The internet, contemporary art world, and social networking stand to learn a lot from the ideas you’re cataloging here. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  4. I have about 20 kilos of (mostly IUOMA) Mail Art that, quite frankly, I do not know what to do with, but I would like to find a good home for it. It is unsorted. Would you like it for your archive?
    Regards, Val Herman (who once taught at Aarhus University, and will be exhibiting in Copenhagen in May, 2015)

    • Theis Vallø says:

      I really like the fact that you measure your holdings by the kilo! It is just as good as by number of objects, artists, boxes, country, age, etcetera, I guess . I must say that I have more than enough work with Mogens Otto Nielsen’s archive, though. It is time consuming work cataloguing and sorting out kilos of mail art, as you probably know too well (not to mention digitizing it). Where and when do you exhibit in Copenhagen? Sincerely; Theis:

  5. Јe peux dire que c’est sans mentir de laа joie de visiter votre blߋg

  6. Alda says:

    Good blog post. I absolutely love this site. Keep it up!

  7. Please let me know about the Archive I want send my mail art works and document for your Archive Professor Roberto Scala Via Molini 11 – 80061 Massa Lubrense ( NA) Italy 00393475714764

  8. Hi everyone, it’s my first visit at this web site,
    and piece of writing is in fact fruitful designed for
    me, keep up posting such articles or reviews.

  9. Roberto Scala Via Molini 11 – 80061 massa Lubrense (NA) Italy Please send me tour invite thank you i wait for your address . Prof. Roberto Scala Mobile pone 0039 3475714764

  10. Vesselina Sarieva says:

    Hi, my father Veselin Sarieff was publishing mail art magazine in Bulgaria in ’90s
    He was inspired by Gilermo Deisler (Chili, DDR)
    If you like to know more or to send you scaned issues – please drop me a line

    Best from Plovdiv, Bulgaria
    Vesselina Sarieva

    • Charles Gallagher says:

      Hi Vesselina we viewed you and your description of Plovdiv today on Euromaxx. It was a very interesting piece, especially as we are artists. The mention of available spaces for artists is a big attraction, could you send more data on best areas for artists and the spaces and costs involved. Let me introduce myself im Charles Gallagher and my friend is Giovanna Sangiorgi Nicklin, We are both on Saatchi online and also Pictify. We are both fine artists and lecturers with UK universities and colleges. We look forward to hearing from you.
      Charles and Giovanna

    • CrackerJack Kid says:

      Hello Vesselina,
      I would like to be in touch with you about an interesting postcard that your father sent
      to me years ago. There’s no date to be seen anywhere on the card. The signed black & white graphic work is enigmatic. Are there other works I can see? And what mail art magazine was he editing?
      Chuck Welch

  11. Vesselina Sarieva says:

    Hi, my father Vesekun Sarieff was publishing mail art magazine in Bulgaria in ’90s
    He was inspired by Gilermo Deisler (Chili, DDR)
    If you like to know more or to send you scaned issues – please drop me a line

    Best from Plovdiv, Bulgaria
    Vesselina Sarieva

  12. Chuck Welch says:

    Hello to Vallo Mad-sen…
    who must, indeed, be going mad archiving 600 mail artists. I would love to be in communication with him to share some of my own ongoing work archiving the Eternal Network Mail Art Archive. So far, I’ve gotten through three fileboxes of mail artists whose last names begin with S….There are 175 artists from SAG to Szyhalski. Altogether, there are nearly 1,400 artists who I corresponded with between 1978-2000. When I told a close friend that I had corresponded with the world, he replied, “Jeez, I have over 1,800 “friends” on Facebook, so what makes your obsession so special?

    I hope that Mogens has kept the handmade paper stationery I made from his rubber-stamped cotton T-shirt. Perhaps he returned his “Material Metamorphosis” back into the network eternal. That was my intention back in 1982 when I completed the Commonpress #47 Material Metamorphosis project. Among the 116 participants was Ray Johnson who seemed to presage the coming of Net-art or mail art networking. He mailed webbed underwear to be pulverized by my laboratory beater into cotton rag paper pulp! Ray jumped off Sag Harbor Bridge in 1995, just a couple of weeks after I had launched mail art over the world wide web with the creation of EMMA, The Electronic Museum of Mail Art. There is also a ballad I wrote, sang, and recorded for him on the EMMA site. The song includes the lyrics, “Ray Johnson was the finest man, who ever mailed a line.”

    So Vallo, please reach me in the mail at PO Box 151, Hancock, NH or email CrackerJack Kid at jackkidmusic@gmail.com I’d be happy to share some web-dreams with you regarding eternal archiving.

    Archiving spirit to spirit,
    CrackerJack Kid/Chuck Welch

    • Theis Vallø says:

      Hi CrackerJack Kid!

      Just the other day the registrar and I were looking at some of the “Material Metamorphosis” pieces. There is a handmade paper folder in one of the boxes with samples (I will soon upload something on the blog about it). There is a lot of your stuff in the archive!

      Right now we are building the database. Everything is catalogued according to the box the pieces came in, so that the archiving system somehow resembles the (chaotic) system, that Mogens Otto Nielsen used. Hopefully later this summer we will begin to work on some kind of digital interface that will make it easy to navigate in the chaos.

      I am very interested in any comments you might have to digital mapping this kind of information/art. The page “Mapping the archive” is a short description of the kind of digital map or interface I am looking for.


  13. Ruud Janssen says:

    Somewhere in those boxes there might be something I have sent. Love the blog with all the details

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