MinXus Mail Bag: From “Footprint Series” by Helder Coelho Dias (Coruche, Portugal)

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Mail-art by Helder Coelho Dias (Coruche, Portugal)

A big “Howdy” goes to Helder Coelho Dias who makes his Mink Ranch debut with an absolutely stunning piece from his “Footprint Series,” which has already received praise at other mail-art venues. This is truly a mail-art gift beyond measure because Helder sent us the first work in the series. This will be given a special place in the MinXus USA archives!

The foundation of the work is the impression of Helder’s Coelho Dias’s footprints on a phone book page. This is impressive in itself, we think, because he explores anti-art and found materials. “Footprint Series” brings into question every conceivable element of traditional art. Rather than the use of his hands, his feet are the primary means of expression. The relationship of the body to the work of art is reconfigured, and there is a performance art aspect that extends the boundaries of the art. The placement of the work on the floor seems to question the exalted place and privileged position of painting. Many more interpretations must occur to viewers when they consider the conceptual aspects of the work. The reverse side offers documentation:

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Yet there is much more to the work beyond the conceptual and anti-art levels. Helder Coelho Dias is a talented artist in the traditional realm as well. We think many would agree the work is aesthetically pleasing. The colours are luscious and subtle. His drawing adds considerable visual interest. The fiber piece and the gritty particles create wonderful textures and give the work a truly haptic dimension. As with many mail-artists, text is incorporated in the work, thus bringing the strengths of visual poetry into the mix.

What we find most remarkable is the way Helder Coelho Dias is able to integrate so many different elements and approaches into the work and still achieve a masterful unity. Here is the envelope:

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And the reverse:

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We are honoured that Helder chose to send us this piece from his “Footprint Series.” We offer our deepest thanks and assurance the piece will be treated with great respect and carefully preserved.


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