The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Published in the first issue of Buzón de Arte/Arte de Buzón (Caracas, January, 1976), in this article, Argentinean artists Edgardo Antonio Vigo and Horacio Zabala analyze the interaction that exists between two traditionally different systems of communication: mail (the postal medium) and the artistic act; in both, there is a sender and a receiver. The authors explain the principal functions and characteristics of Mail art, emphasizing, among other characteristics, the modification of traditional notions about the “unique artwork” and “collecting” that—according to Vigo and Zabala—imply a “certain amount of egoism.” The article includes a history of the development of Mail art and ends by quoting Clemente Padín, the Uruguayan artist, regarding creative postcards and their potential as a method of expression for “all the art movements of the moment.”
Edgardo Antonio Vigo (1928–97) and Horacio Zabala (b. 1943) are among the most important creators, theoreticians, and critics of non-traditional art in Argentina. Vigo is considered a representative and promoter of Mail art in his country; Zabala, part of a younger generation, began creating works in 1970 that combined images, text, and objects with a socio-aesthetic focus; he also became interested in Mail art. Today he continues to create and exhibit his work.
Even though Mail art played an important role in Argentina as a means of political struggle—especially starting in 1976 during the military dictatorship that was imposed on the country until 1983—one may not yet perceive the radicalization on the part of the authors in the present article. This text is especially theoretical and didactic, and the authors explain Mail art as a communications phenomenon.
As a historical-theoretical text, the document also offers a complete list of the international events and analysis of the postcard as a traditional means of communication linked to tourism, and the postcard as a visual arts medium. In other words, it is an artwork in and of itself; a visual-verbal medium; a vehicle for conceptual realization; and a record of events or deeds pertaining to a language of action (ranging from concrete art to visual poetry).
Vigo published another article in issue no. 2 (also the final issue) of Búzon de Arte, “Arte correo: una nueva etapa en el proceso revolucionario de la creación” [see ICAA digital archive (doc. no. 1102031)] which appeared in March of that same year. It included political content and highlighted the potential of Mail art as a weapon against the censorship and political persecution during the totalitarian regimes that existed in South America from the 1960s to the 1980s.
The inclusion of essays by artists and theoreticians of Vigo and Zabala’s stature in the
Buzón de Arte/Arte de Buzón reinforces the importance of this publication; it was organized and edited by artist Diego Barboza in Caracas and enjoyed international circulation and impact. Unfortunately, there were only two issues of this important publication.