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Ryosuke Cohen: Mail Art – Brain Cell – fractal (1997)

related documents:
Vittore Baroni: Brain Cell – The neural collages of Ryosuke Cohen
Ryosuke Cohen: Brain Cell (1985)
Ryosuke Cohen: Mail Art – Brain Cell – fractal (1999)

We have only inspiration. Every generation makes good art work if possible, and that’s wonderful! But it is not so easy. Every artist has the history of art past to recognize and understand, which then in turn inspires personal work. The human task is to investigate poetic emotions, visual beauty and more concrete expressions, expecially that which has not been seen before.That’s what makes surprises.

Mail Art is still coming today from all over the world: postcard, xerox-copy, collage, drawing, photograph, computer graphics, cassette and so on. We send mail, fax, e-mail, internet, etc. Sometimes we don’t know each other’s faces or backgrounds but we have communication. We find surprise in many different expressions, concepts, stamps and seals. We find congruous participations with positive identifications of ideas and sympathies, not as in merely one-to-one’s mail. Mail Art has expanded the network like as from A to B, B to C, C to D, D to A, C to A, ... Somebody sends me Mail Art which becomes collage which I return. We use each other’s ideas. Ideas are not always orderly, neat, or ruled like lines. More like the numberless complexity of a brain cell’s energy (an organic cell has more moving parts than any man-made machine).

Picasso was influenced by Cézanne and African sculpture. Van Gogh by Hokusai and Hiroshige, Pollock by Dalì and Mirò. Already we have many artists who have been influenced by Mail Art. Today we all have each other’s Mail Art or Dada or Fluxus ideas in our history of art. I am really glad to use other people’s ideas for my work. My mind and work and many other people’s pieces mix and the Brain Cell paper make Fractals. Much more mix! We can see here and there the art ideas of Fluxus and Ray Johnson. Those are Brain Cells making each other’s works. Mail Art’s work is Fractal.

I think that Mail Art has no need of a fixed place. The world is a studio. Everybody or anybody can participate. There is not much money that anybody can make in a mail art show. There are other good reasons for it, but not that. The artist is not negative, but like a cactus needle: sharp! We have free spirit, we can speak directly. Therefore, we can change the organized artworld which is a business world. We can make, as André Malraux said, “The Museum Without Walls”.

We don’t have the Berlin Wall anymore, but there are still many countries closed by walls on Earth. Each country has its own cultures, religions, foods, habits, costumes and other differences. We can transcend the walls to know and to understand and to share each other’s differences. This is not just for artists but for everybody. This is now very important, maybe more important now than ever.

September 1997, Ryosuke Cohen
(translated from Japanese by Mr. Postcards & Takayo)

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