Ulises Carrión (1941–1989) was a pioneering figure in mail art, a movement and a medium that produced a unique international network of creative exchange in the 1970s and 1980s. Throughout his life, he developed an important oeuvre that spanned performance, video art, and books. Above all, Carrión was a cultural agitator and a social mediator. His ability to build networks was reflected not only in his prominent role in the mail art movement but also through Other Books and So, a gathering space he founded and ran in Amsterdam. His influential essay “Mail Art and the Big Monster” delineates the principles and goals of mail art, charts its evolution, and classifies it according to its formal characteristics and modes of circulation. More radically, Carrión argues that due to its reliance on the distribution network of the postal service, mail art “knocks at the doors of the castle where the Big Monster lives." Ulises Carrión: The Big Monster, curated by Aimé Iglesias Lukin, Director and Chief Curator of Visual Arts at Americas Society, brings together a selection of mail art projects that Carrión developed between 1973 and 1983, erasing the boundaries between artwork, archive, and document, while questioning fundamental notions of modern art. Carrión’s interventions allow us to rethink the status of the autonomous work of art and the commercial and bureaucratic systems under which it circulates, as well as the role of authorship and property in contemporary culture.
The exhibition is accompanied by the original publication Ulises Carrión: The Big Monster, a richly illustrated catalogue that includes essays by Aimé Iglesias Lukin and Zanna Gilbert covering the genesis and main projects of Carrión’s visionary, monumental work.