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Back of an Envelope – a collaboration between Edgeland Modern & Blue Monkey Network

23 June 2022

Online via Zoom
Tank Barriers, Cuckmere Haven by Sue Hamer

The best ideas and inventions, so we are told, are often first jotted down on the ‘back of an envelope’… Why? Because there’s usually one to hand and these ideas – often so fugitive – need capturing before they get lost.

Our Back of an Envelope ‘Open Call’ was inspired by Margaret Mellis’ most popular exhibition at the Towner Gallery earlier this year. Her later work incorporated the use and requisition of found objects, including envelopes: utilising and reimagining the shapes and forms they offered. The artist/curation team Edgeland Modern also explored the possibilities of using the Backs of Envelopes in 2019, which resulted in their first exhibition. And historically, the poet Emily Dickinson would invariably note the first few lines of a new poem on the back of an envelope, often writing along the perimeter of the flaps adding extra nuance to the meaning of the words.

Social media has provided us with a huge potential audience and resulted in a wonderful response to the Open Call. Submissions have come from as far as Indonesia, India, Portugal and South America as well as from Sussex artists with so many takes on the Envelope as format, often reusing and recontextualizing naturally occurring postage paraphernalia. The Blue Monkey Network Zoom meeting provided us with the opportunity to show on screen at least one example from every submission entry, with responses from Robert Littleford, Pat Thornton and Nikki Davidson-Bowman on pieces that show how the found page, the torn edge, the postmark, the public and the private surface of the envelope can be creatively used.

Edgeland Modern

Edgeland Modern is a curatorial team and an experimental art project space: for the meeting of ideas and people. A collaborative group of interdisciplinary artists and writers with an interest in The Fringes and The Edges. We run an exhibition programme, symposia and artists’ events, dedicated to contemporary art and ideas.

Heterotopia: a world within a world, mirroring and yet upsetting what is outside. Domestic Space, not as ‘gallery’; rather characterising it is as ‘a space, an ambience, a home’.

To see the talk and Instagram show click on the YouTube link below.


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