Wellen, Belgium: Administration Center, 1984. First edition of 720, of which this is no. 523. Softcover 8vo in folded flap wrappers printed in royal blue on the outside, and red on the inside. Pages printed in black on light blue paper between two blank white endpapers. 140 pp. To which is added a set of microfiches consisting of four 14.5 x 10.5 cm (5.75 x 4.125") sheets of microfilm housed inside white paper pocket affixed to inside rear cover. 821 pp. Signed by the editor and artist on last page.
‘Commonpress Magazine of Art Nº 56: AEROGRAMMES — B. T. S. [Born to Survive] — C. P. RETROSPECTIVE,’ guest edited by Guy Bleus on the topic of mail art. Artists’ book divided into four sections with an introduction by Guy Bleus highlighting the content of each chapter. ‘Part I. Exploring Mail-Art’ defining the terminology and practice of mail art. ‘Part II. Aerogrammes’ consisting of the mail art project created for this issue on the topic of ‘Born to Survive’ reflecting the atomic and global political climate at the height of the cold war. List of contributors is organized by country with their corresponding artwork referenced on microfiches 1, 2, and 3 which are paginated 1–624. Contributing artists to the project included Guy Schraenen, Johan van Geluwe, Guillermo Deisler, Julien Blaine, Ben Vautier, Robin Crozier, Ulises Carrión, Ko de Jonge, Woody van Amen, Pier van Dijk, Gabor Toth, Vittore Baroni, Pawel Petasz, Albrecht Dietrich (Albrecht/d.), Klaus Groh, Géza Perneczky, Peter Jörg Splettstösser, Miriam Sharon, Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Graciela Gutierrez Marx, Paulo Bruscky, and Clemente Padín among several others. Aerogrammes were organized and exhibited alongside all issues of Commonpress published up until that year at Museum Het Toreke in Tienen, Belgium October 19–November 18, 1984. The same exhibition later continued to Bielsko-Biala, Poland in 1985, and ended in Valkenswaard, Holland in 1985/86. Afterwards, all works were returned to the archives of Museum Het Toreke in Belgium. ‘Part III. Commonpress-Retrospective: 1977–1984’ consisting of an ‘approximate complete summary’ of all Commonpress publications issued between 1977–1984 with a short bibliographical description for each title. Section also includes ‘the regulations’ for publishing as outlined by the founder, Pawel Petasz, highlighting the thirteen rules of the imprint. ‘Part IV. Appendix’ cataloguing over eighty mail art publications from Guy Bleus’ archive of the Administration Centre, with their corresponding covers reproduced on microfiche 4, paginated 729–821. All four microfiches reproduce artwork and covers at a scale of 1/42 best viewed with a loupe. A canonical reference as it relates to the press and the practice of mail art.
Book very good with wear along cover extremities, including additional wear at crown of spine, and faint fold lines along right margin on account of covers being slightly wider than the text block. Microfilm fine.
The founding principle of Commonpress encouraged each contributor to edit, print, and distribute a future periodical on a specific theme, thus democratizing the responsibility and ownership of the press. For most issues, Commonpress operated through an international publishing fraternity featuring a different guest editor for each issue. Pawel Petasz edited issue No. 1 in Poland in 1977, and subsequent editors included Ko de Jonge, Peter Below, Ulises Carrión, Adriano Spatola and Giulia Niccolai, Klaus Groh, Aart van Barneveld, Guy Schraenen, G. E. Marx Vigo, Vittore Baroni, Johan van Geluwe, György Galántai and Júlia Klaniczay, and Guy Bleus among several others. Item #967