Started on 30-3-1996
RJ: Welcome to this mail-interview. First let me ask you the traditional question. When did you get involved in the mail-art network?
Reply on 19-4-1996
IB: In 1985 I participated in the 1st Bienal of Copy-Art, in Barcelona, with JÍrgen O. Olbrich, Sarah Jackson, Rufino de Mingo, Pezuela, Alcal-Canales, Clemente Padin, etc. The next year, I joined the International Society of Copiers Artists in New York. My works appeared in the ISCA QUARTERLY, volume 5 nos. 2 & 3.
Those were my first and serious contacts with Electrographic Art, which is so important in mail art. (eight years later, I went to the unique International Museum of Electrography, located in Cuenca, Spain, invited to work with the latest Canon machines....)
And it was in 1986, when I began to participate in my first mail art project: "O Globo e seus Terraqueos", invited by Gilbertto Prado, an active Brasilian mail artist, whom I met, one year later.
RJ: You mention Electrographic Art, as being an important aspect in mail art. Are there also other sides to mail art that are attractive to you?
Reply on 2-5-1996
IB: Of course, one of them is to get in touch with people from different countries, having the same artistic concern. Also that you may express your ideas without external pressures, with total freedom. The possibility to choose the mail art project you like, knowing that all your works will be exhibited....
RJ: Are there many active mail art networkers in Spain?
Reply on 8-5-1996
IB: Sure, I'm just arriving from the III Independent Editor's Encounter at The Andalucia International University (Iberoamerican Headquarters) in Huelva (Spain), where I met a lot of Spanish Networkers. Usually you can find always the same people at mail art exhibitions (Antonio Gomez, Antonio Mirˇ, Pere Sousa, Cesar Reglero, Bericat, Nel Amaro, etc.), but since a newspaper article appeared in El Pais (most famous newspaper in Spain), the number of Networkers will be increasing (the article was talking about mail art...)
The Spanish Mail-Art Association has, till the moment, 40 members, but I send the AMAE Bulletin to more than 100 people in Spain, and 100 out.... Also there are more M.A. magazines here (P.O.BOX and SOL CULTURAL), so, I think, Spanish Networkers will be more than one hundred now....
RJ: You mention the Mail-Art Association (called AMAE - Association Mail-Artistas Espa˝oles, when I am correct). When did this start, and what is the goal of the Association?
Reply on 22-5-1996
IB: In 1995 I decided to create an Association which includes the most active Spanish Mail Artists, and for this end, I consulted them, one by one, by mail (of course).... The response was excellent and unanimous: They support and encourage my plan.... I was greatly surprised, because of the independence which is a feature in Artists, in general..... Now, AMAE is recognized in my country, where I receive a lot of information from Institutions which is materialized in the Bulletin, jointly to Visual and Experimental Poetry, News, a Who is Who, etc. etc. and transmitted to all the networkers in Spain and out.... One of the purposes of the Association was fulfilled....
RJ: What other purposes does the Association have?
Reply on 30-5-1996
IB: Other purpose that AMAE be after too, is a section in his bulletin (WHO IS WHO?), in which come out all the Spanish Mail Artists (two in each edition), and in this way, we get to know each other better.
Subsequently to publish a guide with the same title, with names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. and to distribute it, among all of us.... (It's an idea that I extend to other mail artists with regards to their countries). And who knows, maybe a Mondial Guide of mail artists, why not? Probably Ruud, your mail interviews are yet the beginning....
Also AMAE helps to keep in touch all the M.A. of the Kingdom. To organize exhibitions.... Actually, AMAE prepares one in SANTA DOMINGO (Dominican Republic), but not of mail art, VISUAL & EXPERIMENTAL POETRY, at the "CASA DE TEATRO", which is the meeting place of Dominican Artists and Intellectuals.... I will travel there, carrying the works of European Poets (Although mostly, Spanish).
RJ: To respond to your remark "your mail interviews are yet the beginning...." I would like to comment that your "WHO IS WHO'S" mostly contain the "facts" of the artists, while I try to get the story behind the person that every mail artists is, and what mail art means to them. What does mail art mean to you?
Reply on 12-6-96
IB: As told by Anna Garcia, Presswoman for the paper El País, "For Ibírico, mail art is like a religion....." Now, five years ago from the definition I made in "MANUAL DO VIAJANTE EM PORTUGAL", and valid yet today.....: "Mail art is an art without frontiers, and since few interest for Gallerists and Dealers, because no prices for works. But free-Art. All the mail artists have the possibility to express their ideas, however much peculiar they where, and without the obvious limits in order of commercial factor, which there is no doubt that affects to the creativity, following fashion and according to the clients's Taste." To add: It allows persons from isolated areas, to keep in touch with other artists, re-question information, to know what happens in the Artists' world. This is what mail art means to me.....
RJ: Will mail art survive now that more and more people start to communicate by computers and electronic mail?
Reply on 5-7-1996
IB: It's not a survival question, but another option, an individual choice. I don't think the other forms of communication, like e-mail, fax, etc. will scroll down mail art. Some people will feel at ease connecting by other forms than mail.... (could be since smoke signals to Tom- toms....) Mail art has its own system.... The sending, the waiting for, the surprise comes on an unexpected day..... but then, you touch the envelope which is 3-dimensional, you'll open it, etc. etc.
From the sending to the receiving, a time process (sometimes, long or short, be implicit....). For some people time is money, but mail artists GEO RIPLEY, hinging to my origin, says: "Time is an illusion in Arab's world". Personally, I will continue to communicate by mail.... (as I did since the beginning of this interview.....).
RJ: Well, the fun of these interviews I am doing is off course that the communication forms mail artists use is quite different, but it IS a personal choice. Something I find very important. You mention the saying "time is money", and in mail art there is a saying "mail art and money don't mix" which is a 'hot' topic for already decades. What are your views on this?
Reply on 24-7-96
(this answer came from Benidorm where Ibirico spends his vacation)
IB: My point of view on this is quite clear. I spend a lot of my time doing mail art, without obtaining money in exchange. An important quality of time & money each month. To make and distribute the zine AMAE.... Facts that demonstrate that the saying "Time is money" doesn't go for me.... Also that till the moment in mail art there is not any potability of business.
RJ: How involved are you in the Experimental Poetry and/or Visual Poetry?
Reply on 23-8-1996
IB: I answer to this question, after being "kidnapped" by the Palestinian Terrorist Saad Mohamed Ibrahim, flying to Cuba, at the Iberia DC-10 (IB-6621), the 26th of July, and deflecting to Miami...... (the day after being liberated, I meet Abelardo Mena, from the Banco de Ideas Z, at Habana, Cuba). About 20 years ago, visiting a JOAN BROSSA exhibition in Barcelona (BROSSA is the undisputed leader of the Spanish experimental Poetry), and as a Plastic Artist, I was interested by this strange way to capture and to visualize the Poetry.... And it was from then, when I began to investigate in this way... Actually I take part in all the important exhibitions of Visual and Experimental Poetry in Spain, and all over the world.
RJ: Is it important for you that you take part in all those exhibitions, or is it just a side way of your work?
Reply on 2-9-1996
IB: It's wonderful to take part in those activities, which are so pleasant to me, as much as they have prestige or not. The most interesting is to contribute with my works, in the fascinating world of Experimental Poetry, which is so important to me, as mail art, painting, engraving, etc.
RJ: Who influences your work? Which artists inspire you the most?
Reply on 8-9-1996
IB: Along my artistic trajectory, a lot of them had an influence in my work.... (as I suppose to all the Artists), but not only Painters (Velazquez, Goya, Van Dongen, Picasso and Duchamp), also writers (Faulkner, Camus, Lezama, Bowles), Musicians (Mozart, Verdi, Bizet, Penderezki), Film Directors (Fellini...)
But, actually, nobody bears upon me, or inspires my works. In any case, some authors please to me more than others.
When you reach certain maturity, and you know what you want, or better: As me, what you don't want, you'll find, and then, you have your own "Mark" which characterize your works. People said: "It's an Ibírico". I continue on that way, getting on with it.......
RJ: What is typical about an Ibírico ?
Reply on 25-9-1996
IB: It's hard & difficult to speak about myself, so, I let Art critics define:"All is perfectly ordered in Ibirico's work. Clear spaces, and a personal mark, are the factor's expressly chosen by the artist. In the origin of both factors, we find without doubt the engraving influence. The light spaces remembering his colour compartment. The Ibirico mark, was expressed by a kind of labyrinth, of clear lines, almost chiseled fine geometry, which symbolizes the 'way to nowhere'. Main identity sign of Ibirico: His labyrinth which have maybe something in common with the little streets in The Kasbah of his native Tangier town.
To the artist, they are purely and simple the results of a process of years of work. A part of his creative Universe, an vocation and rational universe, generally distributed in two areas: A little trimming of space, in which the labyrinth is established in a constant with no beginning and end, kind of 'Horror Vacui' , and in opposition to an area of no intervention, diaphanous, in which last pieces keep closed relation with the different supports chosen. Because Ibirico, 'habitué' to work in little formats, has decided to pass this time, from the paper to the big spaces (sculptures, installations, etc....)"
RJ: This texts says that you like to work in 'little formats'. What is the reason of this choice?
Reply on 11-10-1996
(Separately I received a brochure with Ibirico's CV)
IB: Really. I like to work in little format.... The reason? Maybe I'm very minuteness and precise when I draw. I don't know if it's correct to call "little works" to 50x70 cm !! But they are measures that fit in with the kind of work that I perform. Even if, I don't reject the possibility to play with Big formats, as I did circumstantially, a long time ago, in Escariche (Spain), the Mural Paintings measuring 5 x 8 meters. Or installations ( 8 x 8 meters), or canvas ( 2 x 2 meters). The fact is, that actually my favorite size to work in, is 50 x 70 cm, so, I'm inclined to speak about half format, certainly it's dependent on the kind of "oeuvres" you can execute in each moment.... As you know, Ruud, you can materialize, and transfer works from little to Big. It's not too hard to do. Simply to be inspired. The rest is as easy as pie.....
RJ: Ten years ago you participated in your first mail art project. If you look back, has the mail art you receive changed over the year. I myself have noticed that the quality of the mail art I get in has become quite poorly. Have you noticed the same?
Reply on 8-4-1997
IB: Actually I receive more and more mail art matters, and the quality becomes diluted in a large quantity..... Bear in mind, that now there are a lot of persons moving near M.A., from different fields, and ten or eleven years ago, mail artists, generally come from artistic activities. There arises the question, is it convenient that mail art reaches everybody or not?.....
RJ: Thank you for the interview Ibirico!
- END -
Mail-artist: Ibirico, AMAE, Aptdo. 47, 28921 - Alcorcon, Spain
Interviewer: Ruud Janssen - TAM, P.O.Box 1055, 4801 BB Breda, NETHERLANDS