Two Hundred and Forty-three Postcards in Real Colour.
Georges Perec’s postcard messages, dedicated to his friend Italo Calvino, appeared as a long list, with not a single image. Written in 1978, they were translated into English by John Sturrock in Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, in 1997.
Constructed with mathematical precision, they describe hedonistic vacations that we can only dream about. Perec’s holiday-makers travel through alphabets, relaxing and sunbathing, making historic and literary connections on the way, with no mention of the journeys nor the bills. The messages seem a little repetitive and formulaic, but as both the men were members of OuLiPo, that is perhaps hardly surprising. The first clue to unravelling the secrets is to ask why 243? Our aim was to respond to this work as artists by making a postcard, adding the missing image to the message, and then posting the physical postcard.
Postcards images have been offered to the project from twenty-two countries, from California to Queensland via Kathmandu.
The first exhibition opens for staff and students at UWE Bower Ashton Library on July 1st for two months, and the postcards will then be sent off on further travelling adventures.
We have joined the Republic of Postcards, and take part in this post-modernist Grand Tour while we are staying at home.
The postcards are being shown on Instagram, @postcards-for-perec. I hope the cropped image snippets will give a full flavour of the project whilst keeping whole postcard image under wraps until our exhibitions and catalogue.
A slideshow featuring Postcards for Perec was shown as part of the ‘The Lost Weekend’ Bristol Artists Book Event 2021, and the project features in the current Bulletin No.78 of the Association Georges Perec