MinXus Mail Bag: Trashpo Gutai by Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

RC - 2.15.2014 - 1

Mail-art by Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

The international mail-art network has long been a friend to intermedia work that stretches the boundaries of traditional poetry, such as visual poetry. This piece recently received from Richard Carnard is a weather-worn label he found outside his local post office.

RC - 2.15.2014 - 2

Richard poses a Socratic question, and we are only too willing to respond. From our humble perspective, this work (a kind of natural erasure) could certainly be considered Trashpo; and Trashpo, by definition, is a form of vispo: visual poetry.

We also detect something else at work here or are at least we are reminded of another mail-art connection. The Japanese Gutai group has long been influential in mail-art. Among other concepts, the Gutai group was interested in the disintegration that take place in art over time.


Richard Canard, by selecting found material in an advanced stage of disintegration, asks us to consider the materiality of “art” and its precarious relation to absence or nothingness.

Of course, this is only one of a multitude of possible interpretations a thoughtful receiver will find when engaging with this thoughtful work.


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