Guy Bleus / A scented dialogue between the postman and his electronic shadow
CIAP presents the exhibition A scented dialogue between the postman and his electronic shadow dedicated to Belgian artist Guy Bleus (Hasselt, 1950). Bleus, who began developing his art practice in the 70s, holds a prominent position within national and international art history. In 1979 Bleus announced his pseudonym ‘42.292’: “On 2 August 1979 at 2:00 pm I committed ritual suicide by registering ‘Guy Bleus' as an individual brand and number. I officially became the number 42.292 of the Benelux Trademark Office in The Hague.”
Bleus denounces the way in which administration degenerates into bureaucracy. Under the wings of The Administration Centre in Wellen, which Bleus established in 1978, he questions bureaucracy by focusing on all kinds of official documents (identity cards, marriage certificates, diplomas, etcetera), transforming them through rituals, and testing their credibility, legal value, and societal truth. He creates, for instance, an identity card of Planet Mars (1978), a distortion and parody of the Belgian passport.
Most of his actions, as well as physical objects, were mailed all around the globe – the action is always on its way – in the transnational Mail Art network in which Bleus plays a crucial role. Though postal elements can be traced back to the art movements Futurism, Surrealism, and Dada, the Mail Art Network which emerged in the 70s, came out of the interactions of the various, smaller correspondence networks of Fluxus, Concept art, Arte povera, Poesia visiva, etcetera.
Up till now, The Administration Centre operates as one of the world’s largest Mail Art archives, including works by more than 6,000 artists from over 60 countries. The exhibition A scented dialogue between the postman and his electronic shadow is inspired by the title of one of Bleus' manifestos on communication (1994). Through historical installations, including printed matter and Mail Art correspondences from Bleus' personal archive that have never previously been shown, the exhibition sheds a contemporary light on the extensive oeuvre of this unjustly underexposed artist.
27.01.2018, 19u00: opening
04.03.2018, 14u00: lecture by arthistorian Johan Pas on his most recent publication Artists' Publications: The Belgian Contribution. Pas wil emphasise the position of Guy Bleus' printed matter.