MinXus Mail Bag: Cerealist Asemic Trashpo from Petrolpetal (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

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Mail-art by Petrolpetal (Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa)

Petrolpetal is a talented, energetic South African mail-artist currently making a big splash in the Eternal Network. She lends credence to the nearly indisputable evidence accumulating over the past three years that South Africa has become a vital mail-art center producing innovative work. Petrolpetal, while highly original in her own right, is doing work in the same aesthetic realm as Cheryl Penn, Lesley Magwood-Fraser, Cuan Miles and others that we at MinXus-Lynxus have identified as the South African School of Subtle Aesthetic Obscurity.

Petrolpetal is, however, less obscure than her counterparts and more inclined to employ found materials and post-avant strategies. This fantastic work she sent is an ingeniously altered cereal box. The panels can be folded to create different variations on the core work, so there is an interactive element. Cerealism, the use of cereal boxes in mail-art, can be traced back to Ray Johnson; and of course, Cerealism is also considered a form of Trashpo. We are thrilled to share this wonderful piece and give it a home in the MinXus USA Archives. Here is the reverse side:

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Petrolpetal’s piece is a marvel of tonality using paint and complex stamp and stencil overlays. Here is a close-up of one section:

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Identifying the source of the gold image (for example it does bear a resemblance to an old cassette) is problematic but hardly necessary. On the cardboard it certainly has an asemic, cryptic quality. Petropetal has overlaid this on the cereal box text, so we have a visual-verbal construct, a complex integration of color, image, text, indecipherable symbols that work together with, in our estimation, pleasing results without the jarring qualities one finds in the anti-art strain of Trashpo.

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Many thanks to Petrolpetal for sending us this FAB work!


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