Cimeli by Guglielmo Achille Cavellini
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bookshelves: artists-books

Until I started digging thru my artist's books box I'd forgotten about how many Cavellini "living-room exhibitions" I have. This, "Cimeli", is, apparently the 1st one [although I see 2 earlier catalogues listed online]. "Cimeli", if I translate correctly, means "relic, memento, souvenir". Cavellini's text is in Italian, French, English, & German - in a spirit of internationalism common to mail art. The introductory paragraph reads:

"We live in a dynamic age, among busy and distracted people. So I decided to start with this catalogue, a series of private exhibitions. Thus, it will be possible to follow simultaneously all over the world, the development of my self-historicism."

Of course, Cavellini's project of self-historification can be cynically dismissed as being the egomania of an artist who might not've gotten much attn otherwise, it can be dismissed as the project of a well-to-do art collector who wanted to join the ranks of those whose work he collected, etc.. But I think that, even if the preceding were true, the reason why so many mail artists embraced Cavellini's project is b/c they admired the spirit of not relying on the kudos of art critics to develop one's reputation. After all, most mail artists are marginal - usually philosophically by choice. A later paragraph reads:

"Generally the gifted artist is recognized and appreciated as such only after his death. From that moment onwards, the interest for his work and his personality becomes general. Researches are made among the papers and photographs of his existence. I don't want this to occur for me and my work, I myself am therefore collecting and presenting all that concerns me. These documents, unfortunately incomplete, might have been totally lost or destroyed, were it not for this indexing effort on my part."

&, indeed, Cavellini has survived post-mortem: http://www.cavellini.org/

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 1, 2008 – Shelved
July 1, 2008 – Shelved as: artists-books

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