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Paulo Bruscky & Robert Rehfeldt’s Mail Art Exchanges at Chert Gallery, Berlin Print E-mail
Written by Sara Blaylock (Berlin)   
Thursday, 26 March 2015 00:00

Paulo Bruscky, “Untitled (Ferrogravura),” ca. 1975-1991. Photo by David Horvitz. Image courtesy of Chert gallery, Berlin.Over sixteen years of a committed artistic collaboration organized and almost entirely mediated by the mail, Brazilian artist Paulo Bruscky (b. 1949) and East German artist Robert Rehfeldt (1931-1993) exchanged materially modest, if conceptually bold, artworks to overcome immense physical and political obstacles. Crossing 5,000 miles and two repressive Cold War-era regimes, their mail art often trucked in slogans and icons that were at once immediately identifiable and laden with artistic metaphor and ingenuity. Bruscky's Ferrogravura (iron engravings) —the brown burn of a hot iron on paper—are innovations in domestic printmaking that reveal the artist's humor, as well as a necessity for resourcefulness and creativity in a country governed by military rule. Rehfeldt responded to comparable conditions in East Germany, and maintained, like Bruscky, an earnest and idealistic confidence in art's capacity to speak and redefine universal languages. In his East Berlin atelier, he stamped out the slogans of his "contart" (contact + art), dropping in the mailbox a vision for socially engaged culture: "ARTISTS OF ALL COUNTRIES UNITE;" "MAKE A CREATIVE WORLD NOW;" "KUNST IM KONTAKT IST LEBEN MIT DER KUNST" (ART IN CONTACT / IT'S LIFE IN ART).

 
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