MinXus Mail Bag: Spectacular collage book from Guido Vermeulen (Brussels, Belgium)

Guido V - 1

Cover: Travels with Collages by Guido Vermeulen (Brussels, Belgium)

This is the first MinXus-Lynxus appearance of poet, artist, and critic Guido Vermeulen of Brussels. Many Tenderfoots will recognize Guido’s distinctive work immediately because he is a dedicated and energetic activist in the Eternal Network who freely shares his work and enthusiastically supports artists and writers.

Guido generously sent us a copy of his Travels with Collages book, which is an absolutely spectacular collection that showcases his considerable talents. We are thrilled to be able to present you with excerpts, beginning with his introduction that provides context:

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Collage is a favoured medium for Guido Vermeulen. He is also an accomplished assemic writer and visual poet (with a distinct commitment to political activism). Many of the pieces in Travels with Collages reveal that place where asemics and vispo intersect with collage. There is a textual level to “reading” his work, and we suggest you look at the artistic and literary references that abound.

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“Please, dear baron, leave these trees (tribute to the Italian writer Italo Calvino)”

While Travels with Collages offers some startling juxtapositions, the book has a narrative continuity based on the foundation of the wonderful illustrations used.

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“Comment ne pas aimer… son propre sexe?”

This collage has a strong textual element.

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“Ann ou l’instant interdite”

Here Guido Vermeulen uses the classic image of the woman reading from the Age of Print.

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“Une soiree chez Richard Wagner”

Among all the other elements, it is not difficult to detect a bit of Surrrealism.

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“The gamelang orchestra for peace around 1879”

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“At the revolutionary tribunal”

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“Faites votre choix entre la passion du christ ou la passion de Sada”

A sampling of wonderful work, and Travel with Collages contains many more. Collage amounts to a tradition in the mail-art network, and Guido Vermeulen is a notable practitioner. We also observe that the art of collage is alive and well in Belgium. Thierry Tillier and Little Shiva are among our favs anywhere. Add Guido to the list.

I remember seeing collages from the 1970s that originated in Ray Johnson’s and the Fluxus network, work by Opal Nations comes to mind especially. Many of them were very similar to what Guido has done here: Illustrations from 19th century books on botany, zoology, history, etc. painstakingly cut with scissors and glued into fantastic hallucinations. No doubt the books were culled for a very small price from used book stores and would be considered rare and collectible today. I suppose you have the issue of the ethics of the wanton destruction of books weighed against the beautiful work that was produced because those pieces were not so much avant garde as elegant and made with great care, even if eccentric.

The package also included an interesting poem Guido composed on the occasion of John M. Bennett’s 70th birdthday:

Guido V. - 10

Many thanks to Guido Vermeulen for sending this wonderful package!

Guido Vermeulen has numerous projects and blogs, including ongoing mail-art calls. If you would like to learn more, you can start here:

http://guidovermeulen.blogspot.com/

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. suffolkrebecca
    May 04, 2013 @ 10:13:44

    Brilliant to see Guido’s work through another pair of eyes!

    Reply

  2. minkrancher
    May 04, 2013 @ 12:26:14

    Miss Becca, we did not expect to hear from you so soon. Does this mean you have safely arrived in the USA?

    Many of us have probably seen individual collages from this book in different locations, although there are some I have not seen before. Through the excerpts, I was hoping to show the continuity that runs through the collection. Guido’s preface, I think, is interesting too.

    Thanks!

    And Claudia, thank you for your favourites!

    Reply

  3. suffolkrebecca
    May 04, 2013 @ 14:16:49

    Am in Bangor Maine making the most of my internet connection before meeting my mum and heading on to Cranberry Island where who knows what the winter inflicted. Have been listening to America, took a walk up the road from the airport to the local mall to buy a glue stick, mine ran out on the plane!
    I always forget how different it is, how American I am, how I’m not really very American any more but how fond I am of America’s candor and spirit. Was surprised that there was almost no trash anywhere.
    As for Guido’s collages, I am one of the lucky ones who has this Friour and I LOVE the intro and revisit the images. I have a shelf full of books I’ve collected for one reason or another and was considering making this trip an altered book trip so was going through them. There is one that I zeroed in on, it was green and has a moose imprint on the cover and then I began to read. The first chapter was the story of the LYNX’s last hunt, or something like that. It was a wonderfully tender story and I put the book aside, realising I couldn’t cut that up. I googled the author and it turned out to be a famous Canadian poet, whose name escapes me in this jet-lag haze. One moment I can be quite off-hand about cutting up and then sometimes I feel protective. I found a beautiful book that was in places in awful shape. The images said Guido. I thought I’d choose some and send them but I can’t take it apart yet.
    I appreciate Guido’s spirit immensely. This mail art community is no doubt different to what has come before, you will certainly know how it’s different, but for me the accessibility and generosity of people and ideas is pretty significant and pretty wonderful!

    Reply

  4. minkrancher
    May 04, 2013 @ 15:42:29

    Miss Becca, we are already enjoying your service as our New England correspondent, as much as we enjoy Nayland Farm reports.

    The winter must have blown the New England trash to New York, as this spring the litter is even more noticeable than usual. We’ve had some glorious spring days & are enjoying the Finger Lakes very much right now.

    Here, there seems to be a massive selling off of books. We try to only use those in the most destroyed condition for book art purposes. For collage, we will often make digital prints of illustrations rather than use the originals.

    Reply

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