It is often surprisingly difficult to say when the history of a specific period or movement starts or to indicate one person that might be representative for its start. The same problems occur with the phenomenon of Mail-Art (M-A). In 1962 Ray Johnson founds his New York Correspondence School. But at the same time many others like Arman, Klein, Flynt, Rauschenberg, etc... and the Fluxus Tendency (group) with Ben Vautier, George Brecht, Joseph Beuys, Robert Filliou, Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik, Daniel Spoerri, George Maciunas,... included stamps, rubber-stamps, writings, letters or postcards in their work. Although in the beginning of this century there were remarkable events - of Futurism, Dada, Bauhaus, Surrealism, etc. - that made use of the post medium for artistic purposes, it is only since the silver seventies that the innovation and the multiple possibilities of Mail-Art in reference with the postal service have been really understood. Since then the term Mail-Art has presumably been used for the first time.

What is Mail-Art? It is a complex matter to define the term Mail-Art, because it is used with more than one meaning. It refers to a multilateral art form. But it is necessary to know the meaning of the mail art structure to understand further denotations.

P.S. This text has already been published in Dutch as the accompagnying prospectus of the M-A show in the Cultural Centre De Warande in Turnhout (Belgium) at the end of 1981. It is an introduction (therefore incomplete) to Mail-Art. My apologies to: K. Baik, S. Cho, W. Darnell, G. Deisler, S. Durland, John Evans, K. Kato, D. Maillet, G. Marx, P. Munoz, R. Parmova, M. Spaturu, J. Supek, A. Yada and so many others for not mentioning all the names...

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