International mail art show set to debut in Elassona

Works of art are arriving in time for the First International Mail Art Exhibition in Greece. Over 230 mail artists from 36 countries are participating in the mail art show, organized by the Cultural Consulate of Elassona in central Greece and the town’s Fryktoria art troupe – the latter acting as the exhibition’s curator. The link between the world movement for free traffic of art via mail and Greece is artist Thomais Kontou, a longtime member of the movement who has participated in various mail art exhibitions. For the upcoming show, more than 360 works have already made their way to the Elassona Municipality’s arts center in response to the show’s theme, «Psychedelia.» «Mail art began as a resistance movement going against the visual arts industry in New York in 1965, with Ray Johnson, America’s most famous unknown artist, acting as the pioneer,» said Nikos Gatsas, president of the Cultural Consulate. The mail art network is based on the free exchange of works of art and communication among artists via mail, away from financial agreements, terms and limitations. Mail artists dispatch their works to the organizers via the post office, without frames, thus delivering the works from the formalities involved in exporting artworks, something which demands time and money. There is no financial obligation on the part of the participants; their works are usually left to the organizers. The network is open to all artists, though active participation demands non-stop involvement and show organization. The beauty of mail art lies in the fact that it brings together thousands of artists from around the world. This would explain why prominent galleries and art historians become involved in such events. Over the years, numerous Greek artists have participated in international mail art exhibitions – including Opy Zouni, Costas Evangelatos, Dimosthenis Agrafiotis and Paul Saroglou – while the current show will showcase works by 17 local artists. The exhibition opens on Saturday and will run to March 12.

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