Artpool Mail Art Archive
Artpool Art Research Center collects, archives, and makes available documents for researchers regarding marginalized art practices of Hungary in the 1970s and 1980s and contemporary international art tendencies. Topics in the archive include progressive, unofficial Hungarian art movements (such as underground art events, venues, groups, and samizdat publications between 1970 and 1990) and new tendencies in international art beginning in the 1960s.In addition to functioning as a research center, Artpool considers itself an active archive. It organizes events in search of new forms of social activity, participates in the process in a formative way, and simultaneously documents and archives these process in order to promote the free flow of information.
Budapest, Szabolcs utca 33
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Name of collection
- Artpool Mail Art Archive
Provenance and cultural activities
The Chapel Studio in Balatonboglár, which was the antecedent to Artpool, held exhibitions which attracted international participants. It played a crucial role in establishing the Mail Art Archive and the Visual Poetry Archive. Many participants in the international Mail Art network which evolved in the late 1960s exhibited works at György Galántai’s Chapel Studio in Balatonboglár. Many mail artists took part in the Tükör/Mirror/Miroir show (1973), which was organized by László Beke, and the Szövegek/Texts show (1973) organized by Dóra Maurer and Gábor Tóth. The invitation card for the summer programs held in Balatonboglár in 1973 in four languages was mailed to an international address list of some 2,000 people. In 1979, when Artpool was founded by György Galántai and Júlia Klaniczay, they joined the international Mail Art network, using the original list of contacts. One of the first Mail Art partners of Artpool was the German Klaus Groh. Groh published and distributed information, addresses, and calls for Mail Art in his IAC (International Artist’s Cooperation) newsletter. Meetings with Ulises Carrión’s (NL) Ephemera periodical and his Other Books and So bookshop and Aart van Barneveld’s (NL) Stempelplaats rubber stamp gallery in Amsterdam together with the alternative artists’ publications of the Parisian Vitrine pour l’Art Actuel were rather inspiring in 1978. The idea of founding Artpool sprang up thanks to the enormous international success of György Galántai’s poster publication Antecedents (1978) documenting his book objects.. Galántai stamped “Please send me information about your activity” on Antecedents and sent it to more than 1,000 artists and networkers all around the world. In response, he received scores of answers, catalogues, Mail Art pieces, and artists’ publications. Galántai’s strong intention to make available for the public and to distribute the information he received led to the foundation of Artpool in 1979. The “active archive” activity has been up and running since then. International correspondence and the exchange of information on art proved to be an invaluable tool for intellectual survival in countries isolated from the West by the Iron Curtain.
Operating as an illegal institution, the Artpool archive organized 18 projects between 1979 and 1990. Its first Mail Art exhibition (Sent Art, APS no. 4) presented works by 300 artists from 24 countries (Young Artists’ Club, Budapest, 1980). By publishing the Poolwindow Mail Art newsletter, Artpool significantly contributed to the dissemination of Mail Art in Hungary. Artistic exchange related to the artistamp exhibitions held in 1982 (Fészek Gallery) and 1987 (Museum of Fine Arts) put Artpool among the most important artistamp collections in the world.
During the Italian (1979) and the Western European Artpool’s Art Tours, György Galántai and Júlia Klaniczay personally visited many of their correspondents from the network, and this in turn helped the Artpool collections grow considerably. One of Galántai’s most inspiring networker project, which was spread across several years, was based on his artistic correspondence with Ray Johnson and the resulting activities of the fictive Buda Ray University (1982—1988).
In 1992, Artpool began to function as a public non-profit institution and organized several further network projects of which documentation is available online on the Artpool website.
Description of content
In 2018, there were materials concerning some 2,000 artists related to Mail Art in the Artpool archive. Rich bibliographic materials were gathered in the archive through correspondence and personal meetings over the course of the years. Some of the most important periodicals dealing with issues of Mail Art are the Italian Arte Postale! (1979—2009), Bambu (1981—1992), the Canadian Artistamp News (1991–1996), the Japanese Art Unidentified (1979?–), the American Banana Rag (1971–1991), Lightworks (1975–2000), ND (1982–1997), Panmag (1980–2004), Tensetendoned (1993–1997), Umbrella (1978–2005), Vile (1974–1983), the Swiss Clinch (1983–1988), the Polish-founded Commonpress (1977–1990), the Australian Field Report (1995–), the German I.A.C. (1972–1977), the Italo-Japanese Kairan (2000–), the French Mani-Art (1984–2001), the Uruguayan Ovum (1973–1977), and the Dutch Rubber (1978–1982).
In the archive, there are various documents (posters, audio and/or video recordings, invitations, flyers, publications, photos, articles, artworks) related to approximately 1,600 Mail Art events from the 1970s to the present day. In addition to these materials, researchers can examine more than 8,000 artists’ postcards, hundreds of posters, and roughly 2,000 artists’ books.
Constantly documenting its own projects, Artpool’s homepage is a great source for researchers. All the Mail Art posters have been digitalized as a huge part of the Artistamp Museum, too.
Other topics available on which scholars can pursue research at Artpool include Copy Art, electronic arts, fanzines, Fluxus, artists’ books, and neoism.In 2015, Artpool started systematically to process documents in its Mail Art collection and to publish it on the Mail Art Chro No Logy site. In 2018, informative documents concerning almost 700 projects, Mail Art exhibitions, and important publications are available from the period between 1962 and 1987. In addition to the chronological research in progress, editorial work is currently being done on an English-Hungarian online reader.
- artifacts: 1000-
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 1000-
- video recordings (including oral history recordings): 500-999
- voice recordings (including oral history recordings): 500-999
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Budapest, Frankel Leó út 68/b.
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Important events in the history of the collection
- Artpool Periodical Spaces (APS), 1979–1991
- Artpool's Art Tour 1 & 2, 1979 and 1982
- World Art Post, Fészek Klub, Budapest, 6–25 April, 1982
- Everybody with Anybody, Young Artists’ Club, Budapest, 26 February, 1982.
- Buda Ray University, 1982-1987 (1997), Visual communication project at Artpool, Budapest
- Hungary Can Be Yours / International Hungary, Young Artists' Club, Budapest, 1984 and 1989
- visits by appointments
- · Carrion, Ulises et al. (eds.). Ephemera No. 11, Amsterdam: 1978. Special Issue: Hungary (guest editor: György Galántai)
- Galántai, György – Klaniczay, Julia (eds.). ARTPOOL – The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe. History of an active archive for producing, networking, curating, and researching art since 1970, Budapest: Artpool, 2013.
- Galántai, György – Júlia Klaniczay (eds.). POOLWINDOW / POOL-LETTER, Artpool, Budapest: 1980–1982. (One page mail art newsletter, 30 issues [1980: 1–5, 1981: 6–18, 1982: 19–30], A4, photocopy)
- Galántai, György – Júlia Klaniczay (eds.). AL (Aktuális / Alternatív / Artpool Levél) [Actual / Alternative / Artpool Letter], Artpool, Budapest: 1983–1985, 11 issues, (Nos. 1–9, A5, photocopied, Nos. 10, 11, A4, photocopied with offset cover, rubber stamp, with a circulation of 300–500, bookwork-like samizdat art magazine with several inserts and supplements and with English summaries for each issue
- The Artpool, 1980, A6, 18 pages, offset, foldout bookwork (it simultaneously functioned as the first issue of the Poolwindow newsletter)
- Textile Without Textile (Textil – textil nélkül), Galántai–Artpool, Budapest: 1980. Original works in an A4 format silk-screened folder, in a variety of techniques by 54 artists from various countries, 300 numbered copies
- ART + POST (Művészet és Posta), Artpool, Budapest: 1981, four A6 booklets in an envelope, offset, ca. 200 copies. (The series containing the Hungarian translation of articles and studies about correspondence art was published to prepare the first exhibition of Hungarian mail artists. The fourth booklet was also the catalog of the exhibition.)
- ART-UMBRELLA (Művészet-Esernyő), Artpool, Budapest: 1981, bookwork-catalog, A6, offset, with color foil cover, 97 numbered copies. 104 works by 33 Hungarian artists
- Everybody with Anybody, Artpool, Budapest: 1982 (A5, offset, rubber stamp, in a plastic bag, 300 numbered copies), bookwork-catalog with photos, original rubber stamps and articles by György Galántai, Miklós Erdély, Albert Kováts and György Szemadám in Hungarian and in English. Catalog of the rubber stamp event, 1982 (supplement to the catalog: call, invitation and poster)
- Stamp + Rubber Stamp, Artpool, Budapest: 1982, 17x15 cm, silk-screened, offset, collage, rubber stamp, cardboard cover, folder-like, 125 numbered copies. A publication compiled and conceived by György Galántai to honor those 22 Hungarian artists, who participated both in Artpool’s artistamp and rubber stamp project
- Galántai, György – Júlia Klaniczay (eds.). World Art Post, Artpool, Budapest: 1982 (A4 landscape format, offset, silk-screened plastic foil cover, ca. 900 copies), an album of 27 sheets (28 stamps each) of stamps designed by 550 artists from 35 countries – with essays and studies on artistamps in English by Peter Frank, E. F. Higgins, László Beke, etc., along with a comprehensive bibliography. Published on the occasion of the “World Art Post” exhibition, 1982
- Commonpress 51, “Hungary”, Artpool, Budapest: 1984, 15 copies (silk-screened plastic foil cover, color offset tourist prospectus, photocopy) – catalog of the exhibition “Hungary Can Be Yours! / International Hungary”
- Commonpress 51, “Hungary”, Artpool, Budapest: 1984–1989, 300 copies, offset. Printed version of the original catalog
- Galántai György (ed.). To Live In a Negative Utopia, Artpool, Budapest: 1987, 36 p.
- Monument Square Postcards, Artpool, Budapest: 1997 (an edition of 56 cards selected from the 134 works received for the project to transform a postcard showing Budapest’s Heroes square)
- Marcel Duchamp Szimpozion 1987 [Marcel Duchamp Symposium 1987], Artpool, Budapest: 2007 (A4, digital print, 62 pages, Hungarian), publication with the “Five minute lectures” held at the symposium in 1987 by 21 leading Hungarian artists and art critics
- Hommage à Marcel Duchamp, Artpool, Budapest: 2007 (A4, color digital print, 100 copies, 143 pages + insert: English summary of the “Five minute lectures”). A bookwork-catalog, an imprint of the website documenting the event (symposium, concerts and exhibition) “In the Spirit of Marcel Duchamp” organized by György Galántai (Artpool) and Péter György (Department of Aesthetics at the Eötvös Loránd Univ.) in 1987
Author(s) of this page
- Kotun, Viktor
- Badovinac, Zdenka – Tamara Soban (eds.). Interrupted Histories. Arteast Exhibition (catalog, ca. 68 p.) and Piskur, Bojana (ed.). Arhivi Samizdatov / Samizdat Archives (supplement, 16 p.), Moderna galerija / Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana: 2006
- Bálint, Anna: Garden of Communication. Artpool Art Research Center web site, Convergence. The Journal of Research into New Media Technology, Vol. 4., No. 2., 1998 Summer, pp. 116–118.
- Bodor, Judit. Artpool Art Research Centre, B+B at Home, Occasions, No. 8. (special issue), Austrian Cultural Forum London: 2004, p. 4.
- Detterer, Gabriele – Maurizio Nannucci (eds.). Artists-Run Spaces. Nonprofit collective organizations in the 1960s and 1970s, JRP / Ringier, 2012, pp. 17, 30–31, 44, 84–109.
- Galántai, György – Klaniczay, Julia (eds.). ARTPOOL – The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe. History of an active archive for producing, networking, curating, and researching art since 1970, Artpool, Budapest:, 2013.
- Galántai, György. Artpool from the Beginnings: A Personal Account, in: Bismarck, Beatrice von – Hans-Peter Feldmann – Hans Ulrich Obrist et al. (eds.). Interarchive. Archivarische Praktiken und Handlungsräume im zeitgenössischen Kunstfeld / Archival Practices and Sites in the Contemporary Art Field, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln: 2002, pp. 393—395.
- Interview with Artpool Cofounder Júlia Klaniczay by Juliane Debeusscher, ARTMargins online, June 2011
- Klaniczay Júlia – Sasvári Edit (szerk.). Törvénytelen avantgárd. Galántai György balatonboglári kápolnaműterme, Artpool-Balassi, Budapest: 2003.
- Mourik Broekman, Pauline van. Relational History, MUTE. Culture and Politics after the Net, No. 27., 2004 Winter / Spring, pp. 24–25.
- Parastamp. Four Decades of Artistamps, from Fluxus to the Internet (exhibition catalog with essays by Peter Frank, Kata Bodor, interview with György Galántai), Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest: 2007, 108 p.
- Perneczky, Géza. The Art Pool Archives. The Story of a Hungarian Art Collection, The New Hungarian Quarterly, 1989, pp. 192–196.
- Ray Johnson and the Mail Art Scene in Eastern Europe, in: Kunsttexte.de, 3/2014, Ostblick 3: "Mythmaking Eastern Europe: Art in Response", ed. Mateusz Kapustka, 2014
- Röder, Kornelia. Topologie und Funktionsweise des Netzwerks der Mail Art. Seine spezifische Bedeutung für Osteuropa von 1960 bis 1989, Schriftenreihe für Künstlerpublikationen, Band 5, Salon Verlag, Köln: 2008, pp. 159–163.
- Schwarz, Isabelle. Archive für Kunstlerpublikationen der 1960er bis 1980er Jahre, Schriftenreihe für Künstlerpublikationen, Band 4, Salon Verlag, Köln: 2008, pp. 298–339.
- Timár, Katalin. Fax- und Mailart des Artpool im Wandel politischer Systeme. Fax- and Mail Art of the Artpool in the Change of Political Systems, in: Ursprung, Eva (ed.) In Control. Mensch – Interface – Maschine, Kunstverein W.A.S., Graz: 1993., pp. 72–74.
- Tumbas, Jasmina. International Hungary. György Galántai’s networking strategies, ARTMargins, Vol. 1., Issue 2–3., 2012 (June–October), pp. 87–115.