the ABSURD (a mail art project) Part 1: The Singles

'the ABSURD' resides within the normal and outside it. Project by John Gayer. ISBN 978-952-69500-0-6

'the ABSURD' resides within the normal and outside it. Project by John Gayer. ISBN 978-952-69500-0-6


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(a mail art project)

Part 1: The Singles

Cover image: ©Tuğba Taş, Turkey

“to believe that

Absurdity does not exist,

is to deny reality”

a no nonsense mail art project


Heavenly Goat Road Production

Produced by John Gayer

Helsinki, Finland


ISBN 978-952-69500-0-6


The meaning of words – like how we see images – is always changing.

What they signify today may not agree with what they meant last week

or year and , for all we know, what they might mean tomorrow. As a

term, ‘absurd’ has not escaped that flexibility inherent to language. Just

consider this somewhat angst-ridden definition, for instance:

absurd, noun

: the state or condition in which human

beings exist in an irrational and meaningless

universe and in which human life has no

ultimate meaning —usually used with the 1

see also: —ab-surd´ -ly, adv. — ab-surd´

-ness, n. —ab-surd´-i-ty, n.

Or – given the number of votes and its first place standing – this

radically different and silly example of the word’s use as an adjective:


crazy, unreasonable, untimely

"That guys Escalade on 24s was absurd"

by willR April 29, 2005 2

Although one can pin point examples of both kinds of absurdist points

of view among the mail art that made its way to Helsinki by way of

regular old-fashioned postal delivery and electronic mail, much of it

1 Merriam-Webster Dictionary (https://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/absurd#:~:text=%3A%20completely%20foolish%2C%20unreasonable%2C

%20or,ridiculous%20His%20claims%20are%20absurd), 13 June 2020.

2 Urban Dictionary (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=absurd), 14 June 2020. The

number ‘24s’ refers to the size of the vehicle’s wheels.

does not necessarily conform to either of these definitions. The

grimness inherent to the first definition is offset by oblique points of

view and and the deft expression of subtle anomalies. They expose

viewers to the awkward construction of hybrids and unusual, if not

altogether, outrageous scenarios.

One encounters snippets of Turkish, Esperanto, Dutch, Japanese and

other languages, as well as a host of intriguing visual vocabularies. The

content ranges from the expression of gentle humour to anxiety and, in

the case of Liliana Accuña, 3 what amounts to years and years of painful


While some contributions arrived despite being disturbed by water or

mechanical damage, a few mailings were absorbed into the project

simply because they unwittingly met the project’s all-embracing

criteria. Unbeknownst to the senders of a couple of junk emails , their

messages appeared to be particularly suitable to being compromised in

this way. Many of the works stand as visual puzzles. The instructions in

a set of games submitted by one artist contains wonderfully examples

of strange wording: ”Oxidation is musical.” The youngest contributor –

look for her drawing of a cat – is just four years old.

Because of the immense volume of submissions – more than 200

contributors participated – this e-catalogue has been divided into three

volumes. Part 1 is dedicated to individual submissions, Part 2

encompasses multiple contributions and Part 3 focuses on multi-page


Given the world in which we live, I see this compilation as making a

case for tackliing the impossibilities of day-to-day life with all the

humour, hope and imperfect talents we humans can muster.


3 Noiville, F., Legacy of the junta casts a dark shadow over contemporary writers in Argentina, The

Guardian, (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/13/argentina-military-juntacontemporary-writers-books).

Alexander Limarev, Russia

Aleyna Gürgen, Turkey

Amadeu Escórcio, Portugal

Ana Pobo Castañer, Argentina

Angela Caporaso, Italy

Anja Mattila-Tolvanen, Finland

Arina Bezdamova, Russia

Arina Kukarina, Russia

Artyom Shatalov, Russia

Arziye Bağıran, Turkey

Ayşe Kuzu, Turkey

Aysenur Kirkin, Turkey

Azmi Dalbudak, Turkey

Bariş Ulaş Akyollu, Turkey

Barış Yüksel, Turkey

Betül Nas, Turkey

Betül Tarhan, Turkey

Beyza Levent, Turkey

Beyza Nur Akarsu, Turkey

Beyza Nur Gelgeç, Turkey

Birsen Limon, Turkey

Bruno Cassaglia, Italy

Butuhan Özgür Akgül, Turkey

Chris Carré, France

Clemente Padin, Uruguay

Dale Roberts, Canada

Daniele Virgilio, Italy

Darya Obabkova, Russia

David Otis Johnson, France

Dilan Ünal, Turkey

Dursun Emre Karoğlu, Turkey

Edita Varinská, Germany

Elif Arpacı, Turkey

Elif Denk, Turkey

Elif Gülşen, Turkey

Elif Günay, Turkey

Elif Sevindir, Turkey

Elifsu Keskin, Turkey

Emine Akhan, Turkey

Enes Aslantaş, Turkey

Esra Aydoğan, Turkey

Estheranna Stäuble, Switzerland

Fatma Kaşıkçıoğlu, Turkey

Feride İşlimen, Turkey

Furkan Ege Çelik, Turkey

Furkan Gümüş, Turkey

Gianfranco Brambati, Italy

H. Mert Tanrıverdi, Turkey

H. Talha Ulupınarlı, Turkey

Hacer Odabaşı, Turkey

Halil Furkan Durna, Turkey

Hervé Alexandre, France

Hilal Egemen Özer, Turkey

Horst Tress, Germany

Huoneistokeskus Lauttasaari, Finland

Hüseyin Berk Gürsoy, Turkey

İmren Burcu Yavuz, Turkey

İsrahan Aşık, Turkey

İrem Duman, Turkey

İrem Nur Ekin, Turkey

İrem Özcan, Turkey

Irene Ronchetti, Argentina

Jan Theunick, Belgium

Jerzy Stepniak, Poland

John Gayer, Finland

José Rufino, Brazil

Kemal Ozyurt, Turkey

Kübra Aladağ, Turkey

Kübra Polatel, Turkey

Kübra Yalçın, Turkey

Lars Schumacher, Germany

Laura Andreoni, Argentina

Leslie Atkins, the Netherlands

Liliana Acuña, Argentina

Lorenz Mueller-Morenius, Germany

Lutz Beeke, Germany

M. Cevher Sarıyıldız, Turkey

M. Selman Özkaya, Turkey

M. Yusuf Bozkan, Turkey

Margarita Stepanova, Russia

Maria Fofanova, Russia

Maria Mashkova, Russia

Maria Quiroga, Argentina

Mark Herman, France

Marzia Maria Braglia, Italy

Maya López Muro, Argentina-Italy

Medium Theresa

Mehmet Ali Akyüz, Turkey

Mehmet Şahin, Turkey

Mehmetali Karoğlu, Turkey

Melike Toğaç, Turkey

Meral Ağar, Turkey

Merja H. Lepistö, Finland

Merve Cansel Nezir, Turkey

Merve Ekmekc, Turkey

Meryem Arıcı, Turkey

Michael Leigh, United Kingdom

Miche-Art-Universalis, Belgium

Miguel Jiménez, Spain

Mirjana Tijanić, Serbia

Monica Rex, United States

Muuberra Bulbul, Turkey


Müge Okten, Turkey

Muhammit Mücahit Güler, Turkey

Musa Safvan Akgül, Turkey

Nalân Danâbaş,Turkey

Nazlı Miray Toprak, Turkey

Neslihan Yildz,Turkey

Néstor Rossi, Argentina

Nezihe Nur Önal, Turkey

Oana-Catalina Gavriliu, Romania

Olcay Polat, Turkey

Orlando Javier Pelichotti, Argentina

Oronzo Liuzzi, Italy

Öykü Harmancı, Turkey

Özge Baysal, Turkey

Özge Çakal, Turkey

Özge Nihal Eryıldız, Turkey

Pedro Bericat, Spain

Piroska Horváth, Austria

Posti, Finland

Mail Strike: 11 - 27 November 2019

Image: Uusi Suomi online, 13 November 2019

Poul Poclage, Denmark

Rossana Veronesi, Italy

Rukiye Özdemir, Turkey

Ruslan Mubarakshin & Gleb Kalsin, Russia

Sait Toprak, Turkey

Seçil Gürbürz, Turkey

Seda Yılmaz, Turkey

Sedef Debre, Turkey

Selin Eraydin, Turkey

Sena Muhtaroğlu, Turkey

Şerife Altuntaş, Turkey

Serse Luigetti, Italy

Şevval Küpeli, Turkey

Seyda Nur Kızmaz, Turkey

Şeyma Ural, Turke

Şilan Özer, Turkey

Slim Blanks, Canada

Süheyla Katar, Turkey

Susan Gold Smith, Canada

Susana Abbona, Argentina

Tamara Wyndham, United States

The Wasted Angel, Belgium

Tuğba Taş, Turkey

Türkan Elçi, Turkey

Uwe Klein, Germany

Valentina Ștefănescu, Romania

Virginie Loreau, France

Viviana Fatima Andrada, Argentina

Vlado Njaradi, Serbia

Yahya Özcan, Turkey

Yaren Tuncer, Turkey

Yasin Yüksel, Turkey

Yiğit Kuloğlu, Turkey

Zavarof, France

Zehra Nur Gezer, Turkey

Zeki Samet Sarıtaş, Turkey

Zeynep Deniz Önder, Turkey

Zeynep Düz, Turkey

Portrait of the curator

Project blog:


Contact information:

John Gayer

Taivaanvuohentie 3 B 13

00200 Helsinki, Finland


‘the ABSURD’

resides within the normal

and outside it

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