Picture Postcard Posted from Post Box Pictured, Selva del Montello, Italy
Toronto, Canada: Paul + Wendy Projects, 2020
4 x 6"
Edition size unknown
Just announced: the 56th edition by Paul + Wendy Projects is the latest iteration of a Jonathan Monk project that features cards from Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, Paris, Reykjavik, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto, and Winnipeg.
Jonathan Monk: I was interested in involving myself with ephemera or postal works that were done by artists in the 1960s and 70s. The idea was to be able to do something really cheaply, but had more to it than just a simple postcard. I like this idea of posting something to someone and them receiving it. I did something similar in The Distance Between Me and You, 2001/2002), a series of Super-8 films where I fixed a camera to the front of my bike – I lived three minutes away from the nearest post office – then I would cycle this journey, filming the way, over the course of a year every time I had to go to the post office. Once I got to the post office, I would send off the undeveloped film to Kodak in Stuttgart, and then Kodak would send the developed reels directly to a collector who had purchased the piece. It documented the entire process in a roundabout way.
The first postcard happened in 2003. It was in Berlin, and it is literally a postbox around the corner from my house. I did the edition for Revolver. I came up with the title of the Picture Post Card Posted From Postbox Pictured without really knowing that it would become a series. It started with Berlin, and then other people got interested in publishing a card. I liked the idea that I could arrange to have an edition produced in New York, but then the card was actually sent from a postbox in Hong Kong. Spike is based in Vienna, but you’re also based here in Berlin, and I’m here. I have all the postcards in my studio, so when someone orders one, I write their name and address and sign them and send the cards in an envelope to the contact in Vienna (or whichever city), who then posts them. It was a way of creating this weird loop.
Colin Lang: How do you get the pictures of the individual postboxes that appear on the postcards?
JM: They are generally done by the people who want to publish an edition. Some of them were linked to exhibitions. One I did in San Francisco as part of a project at Wattis Art Institute (2005), and the one in New York with White Columns. Some editions are commissioned through a museum tied to their shop; there’s one in London at the ICA (2005), and one in Melbourne through the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (2011).
Available from the publisher, here, for $50 CDN.