Where to begin with Cavellini? I’ll start at my beginning with him: he was old and I was young. I had heard of him many times through the world of mail art, which was kind of winding down by the early 80s. One saw his work in many journals and everyone seemed so infatuated – he was kind of like a god. I didn’t really get it until I met him. He was an extremely kind and generous man.
He’d met Marcel Duchamp. Had a fairly adventurous life. Early on he had made his own autobiography his art and wrote it everywhere he could. Text itself was the art form, as you see from his suit. He laid it on shaved heads, he wrote it on naked bodies – including my own during the Interdada Festival in San Francisco in 1984 (photo by Turk LeClair). Using his same fluid hand, he rewrote art history and put himself and his friends in high places, like what you see here.
He also made books, postcards, leaflets and loads of colorful propaganda. I have a slew of it at home and can’t begin to share half of it. He would send huge posters which were all collaged over with hand-written and hand-painted bits. He was famous for stickers with his lifespan of 100 years printed on them (which unfortunately turned out to not be true, as Cavellini passed on in 1990).