Friday, February 2, 2007

collection (Cavellini)


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).

3 comments:

m. said...

that picture of you and cavellini reminds me of one of my favorite movies, the pillow book. i adore the intersection of genres, esp that of text and painting, a central theme in my own practice...i'm curious: what did the pen feel like? the text looks so lush on your skin...what was he writing about specifically...was it just about him, or did the sentiment incorporate a bit of eva as well...? xoxox, m.

Eva Lake said...

I like the Pillow Book too. I never saw the film but read the book.

Well, I remember that I got sort of sick afterwards, like an upset stomache. All the ink did a number. Plus it did not wash off easily and I had it on for a few days.

I don't really recall the feeling of the pen because the performance was in front of several hundred people and a bunch of blinding lights. He asked me right then and there, no planning and it's the only time I ever did something like that.

m. said...

crazy!! i like to write on myself periodically to remember things i'm working on internally, like, maybe the word 'clarity' on the back of my hand or something. i've also signed/branded myself and other people on several occasions...aside from being superfun it's also an interesting test of personal boundaries, as you suggest with the words, "it's the only time i ever did something like that." who wants to run around with an 'm.' in the middle of their forehead, or, for that matter, bits and pieces of cavellini's autobiography all over their torso? maybe if i paid better attention to the circumstances some kind of alcohol-to-signage ratio would make itself apparent...