About this mail art blog

This mail art blog re-circulates Ray Johnson's Follow Instructions Below. Originally published in the November 1971 issue of Arts Magazine, it was a "mailing event" cleverly devised by the artist in which recipients are asked to alter or add to a photocopy of Rimbaud.

February 22, 2010

From: Chris G.

The wonderful artist, Chris G., has supplied the next mail art entry. Playful yet prophetic, it packs quite a visual punch.

I love this one because it's layered like a lovely joke onion -- as you peel away a layer, you discover a pun. He affixed various measuring devices onto Rimbaud which cover his eyes, nose, and mouth. Upon closer inspection, the three circular forms turn out to be the faces of a chronograph watch: the 12-hour, the minute or second hand, and 30-day. Get it?! The faces of the clock create Rimbaud's face. The clocks are giving him face! I also giggled when I realized that the clocks were "red-handed."

In the bottom right corner of the work, a message reads:

"Weave got all the thyme in the world..."

Cryptic, yes; yet, it's fun to try to decode. This mail art begs us to question how we measure the world. By rulers? By clocks? Yes, perhaps here, "time/thyme" is the clue. Do you measure your life by time? Or, measure it by thyme, the spice? The spice of life?! Yes. That's at least how I want my life to measured: by its spiciness.

One of Ray Johnson's favorite pastimes was aestheticizing and philosophizing the absurd. And in this way, Chris G. has created a perfect homage to the late great. Thank you, Chris! Amazing job!

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