For over fifty years, Rod Summers has been receiving a large amount of postal art or mail art from all over the world on a weekly basis.

Upon receipt, all incoming letters, collages, drawings, books, audio cassettes, multiples, and even boxes with complete sculptures that Summers receives are meticulously recorded in a card system.


It is estimated that the archive currently contains over 15,000 artworks, spanning from 1973 to the present—a staggering number considering that each item received by Rod Summers is answered with an original work by himself. Summers considers the VEC archive as half of a Gesamtkunstwerk, with the other half, sent by him, dispersed around the world.

Before establishing himself as an artist in Maastricht, Rod Summers (Dorset, GB, 1943) had a career in the Royal Air Force, where he served for over 13 years. As a medic, Summers was stationed in the Cannerberg, an underground military base just outside Maastricht, in 1970. Although it was the secret NATO headquarters during the Cold War, there was little remarkable activity during those years. Summers spent his days playing card games like Cribbage and checking medicine supplies.

Seeking diversion, Summers joined the art students at the Jan van Eyck Academie on his days off. Following artist Raúl Marroquín's recommendation, he applied for admission in 1973 and was accepted. He resigned from the RAF, signed his resignation letter, and started working at the academy on the same day. From the beginning, the Bonnefanten acquired works by Summers for their collection, ranging from artists' books to performance videos and audio cassettes.

At the core of the exhibition are the "incoming mail" and "outgoing mail", showcasing the most recently received mail art pieces and the works that Rod Summers will send in response. Once a week, the artist will open and respond to the mail on-site. An old motto of mail art artists states, "My mailbox is a museum." For this exhibition, the motto is reversed for the first time: "The museum is my mailbox."


The exhibition features a cross-section of the VEC archive, including works by Anna Banana (CA), Vittore Baroni (IT), John M. Bennett (US), Teatske Burgerjon (BE), Ryosuke Cohen (JP), Mike Dyar (US), H.R. Fricker (CH), Helenka (Poland), Magda Lagerwerf (NL), Brian Lane (UK), Tohei Mano (JP), Raul Marroquin (CO), Marlies Mulders (NL), Katarina Nikoltsou (GR), Jürgen O. Olbrich (DE), Henk van Ooijen (NL), Cheryl Penn (ZA), Pawel Petasz (PL), Laura Puska (FI), Berty Skuber (IT), Ísak Óli (IS), Fred Truck (US), Jan Vale (NL), Horacio Zabala (AR), Alexander Zhurba (UA), among others.

Curated by Martín La Roche, Rod Summers, and Joep Vossebeld.

Video by Charlotte Lagro.


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