"You've got mail" – in the early 1990s, the arrival of an electronic message was still worth a prosaic announcement. Since then, the english word has become more of a hip zeitgeist in german usage than it really deserves: after all, it refers to nothing other than the good old post office. In exactly this old-fashioned sense, ingo cesaro's analog, i.E. Physically present, mailbox has been filled with postcards from all over the world over the past few weeks. Watercolors, collages, drawings, etchings, portraits, alienated original motifs, typography – as colorful and diverse as the entries were, they all had one common thread: cranach and luther.
Original with postmark
This was the title of an international mail art project by the artist ingo cesaro from kronach. Anyone can participate in such a project, whether they are an artist, see themselves as such, or simply want to join in. Condition is: the original bears a postmark and it stays with the initiator, who exhibits it and documents it in a catalog or on the web. "It is a net movement", explains cesaro. Art is distributed non-commercially in the network, bypassing the usual, often elitist distribution through dealers, galleries and museums.
As "correspondence art" the movement started in the 1940s in the USA and got in europe with the fluxus-movement in the 60s. Art and life are in a loving transition. "Everybody is creative in the place where they are", according to cesaro. The idea pays more than the artwork itself.
Mail-art has in the meantime produced some great artists with an international reputation. Some have also been exhibited at "cranach and luther" the honor given, like choco casana rosso, karl-friedrich hacker, roland halbritter or heike sackmann.
Communication is part of the art at mail-art. Cesaro has probably rejected the topic and timing of the project. For the distribution of his woodcuts and the luther bibles cranach used his own network already 500 years ago. When he organized his deliveries as a wine merchant to italy, he sent his printed matter with it. "For me, the connection between luther and cranach was too little represented this year", explained cesaro "because how would the reformation have happened without cranach's help??"
Cesaro's call for entries was followed by artists from italy, spain, belgium, china, ukraine and turkey. The exhibition consists of 280 exhibits. Some are part of a project of the austrian "freipresse". Here the artists sent in 25 originals each. As soon as the works of 20 artists were available, a book was bound and sent back to the authors. Ingo cesaro participated with typographic works and with works in which he integrated woodcuts by peter M. Bannert had integrated.
What is the motivation to participate in a mail-art project in which nothing can be earned?? It's the networking of artists, cesaro says, and the opportunity to be seen internationally. "Every female artist, image is always gained outside, never in one's own region." The exhibition in the kronach district library at the school center is worth seeing and can be visited until the end of january.