Guy Bleus

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Guy Bleus
Guy bleus-1548522903.jpg
Guy Bleus

(1950-10-23) October 23, 1950 (age 68)
Hasselt, Belgium

Guy Bleus (born October 23, 1950 in Hasselt, Belgium) is an artist, archivist and writer. He is associated with olfactory art, visual poetry, performance art and the mail art movement.[1]

His work covers different areas, including administration (which he calls Artministration), postal and olfactory communication.[2]

Art and archive[edit]

In 1978 he founded The Administration Centre – 42.292 which became a huge art archive with works and information of 6000 artists from more than 60 countries. "Guy Bleus has one of the finest archives of mail art in Europe, if not the world."[3]

Bleus was the first artist who systematically used scents in plastic arts. In 1978 he wrote the olfactory manifesto The Thrill of Working with Odours in which he deplores the lack of interest in scents in the visual arts.[4] Since then he showed smell paintings, mailed perfumed objects and made aromatic installations; he also created spray performances where he sprayed a mist of fragrance over the audience.[5][6][7]

Exploring the possibilities of communication media as art media, he investigated the postal system in Indirect correspondence (1979) and searched for an alternative postal system in Airmail by balloons. Together with Charles François he was a pioneer using a computer connected to a modem for artistic communication (in 1989). He also applied reproduction media such as Microfilm, CD-ROM and DVD-ROM for artistic reasons.

Performance works[edit]

One of his performance works from the 1980s was documented in the artists' periodical Force Mental. The performance took place in the venue Il Ventuno in Hasselt, and is described as follows: "Guy Bleus wears a costume made of official stamps of 1/2fr. He cuts his moustache into a Hitler-moustache. Against the wall he hangs photocopies of Hitler's head. Enlargements whereby the moustache is growing bigger (till A3 format). Bleus sticks then stamps, the same as of which his costume is made of and stamps them with his number-stamp: 42.292. Then he sticks a naked girl full with stamps of 1/2fr and stamps them with the number stamp. Finally he cuts off his Hitler-moustache and breaks a mirror."[8] Another fascinating performance of Bleus is called 'Value Shredder' (1982). [9]

Networking and projects[edit]

Impressive are the numerous international art projects which Bleus has organised, such as Are you experienced? L.H.F.S. (1981),[10] W.A.A.: Mail eARTh Atlas (1981–83),[11] Telegraphy (1983),[12] Aerograms (1984), Cavellini Festival 1984,[13] Art is Books (1991), Fax Performances (1992–1993),[14] Private Art Detective: Sealed Confessions, and Building Plans & Schemes (1993).[15]

He wrote and published many essays on the subject of networking art.[16][17] About his essay Exploring Mail Art (1984), Géza Perneckzy wrote: “The study of Guy Bleus outranks all other publications with its theoretical weight and conciseness.”[18] Moreover, he contributed to significant publications, such as Piotr Rypson’s Mail Art, Chuck Welch's Eternal Network, A Mail Art Anthology, or Vittore Baroni’s Postcards – Cartoline d’artista. He participated in many artists' periodicals.[19]

From 1994 till 1999 he opened in Hasselt the art gallery E-Mail-Art Archives. In this non-profit space more than 40 events of mail art, fax art and Internet art took place. Artists such as Ben Vautier, Shozo Shimamoto, Anna Banana, Julien Blaine, H.R. Fricker and Clemente Padin were exhibited.[20]

In 1995 he edited The Artistamp Collection.,[21] the first mail art catalogue on CD-ROM. With the participation of networking artists such as Vittore Baroni, Ken Friedman, John Held Jr., Ruud Janssen, György Galántai, Pawel Petasz and Géza Perneczky, he published in 1997 the first E-Mail-Art & Internet-Art Manifesto, an issue of his electronic zine.[22]

After a bureaucratic venture of 20 years he realised in 2003 (together with Jean Spiroux) the very first postage stamp on the theme mail art edited by an official Postal Service. It was an edition of 4 million copies realised by the Belgian Postal Service.[23]

In 2005–2006 Bleus organised the olfactory mail art project Scents, Locks & Kisses with 778 artists from 43 countries in the Art Museum Z33.[24] The website is a slideshow with all the works of the participating artists.[25]

A retrospective of his work was held in the Cultural Centre of Hasselt in 2010. The publication Pêle-Mêle: Guy Bleus® – 42.292 had bracts perfumed with lavender essence and included a re-edition of his ID from planet Mars of 1979.[26]


  • Gajewski, H. Mail Art Handbook, The Open University, Amsterdam, 1983
  • Rypson, P. Mail-Art – Czyli Sztuka Poczty, Akademia Ruchu, Warszawa, 1985
  • Welch, C. Networking Currents, Sandbar Willow Press, Boston, 1986
  • Truck, Fred. Guy Bleus, in: The Memory Bank, Des Moines University, 1986
  • Ruch, G. (editor). MA-Congress 86, Out-press, Geneva, 1987
  • Fricker, H.R. I Am A Networker (Sometimes) , St. Gallen 1989
  • Held, J. World Bibliography of Mail Art, Dallas Public Library, 1989[27]
  • Broi, G. La posta in gioco. La comunicazione postale come creatività artistica, Pres. del consiglio del ministri, Florence, 1990
  • Held, J. Mail Art: An Annotated Bibliography, (Foreword: G.Bleus), Scarecrow Press, 1991.
  • Rypson, P. Mail-Art – Czyli Sztuka Poczty, National Museum, Warszawa, 1991
  • Laszlo, J.-N. Timbres d'artistes, Musée de la Poste, Paris, 1993
  • Meyer, P. Mailed Art in Uppsala, Upsala, 1994
  • Urbons, K. Elektrografie, DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, 1994
  • Welch, C. Eternal Network: A Mail-Art Anthology, Alberta, University of Calgary Press, 1994
  • Held, J. (Ed.), Guy Bleus: Selected Writings, Stamp Art Gallery, San Francisco, 1996
  • Hamard-Wang, N. Mail Art Networking, entre communication et esthétique, Université de Paris, 1996
  • Baroni, V. Arte Postale: Guida al network della corrispondenza creativa, Bertiolo, 1997
  • Held, J. Rubber Stamp Art, Bertiolo, AAA-edizioni, 1999
  • Felter, J.W. Artistamps – Francobolli d’Artista, Bertiolo, AAA Edizioni, 2000
  • Löbach-Hinweiser, B. Artists’ Banknote Works, Cremlinge, 2000
  • Saper, Craig J. Networked Art, University of Minnesota Press, 2001
  • Castellin, Ph. Doc(k)s : mode d'emploi - histoire, formes & sens des poésies expérimentales au XXe siècle, Ed. Al Dante, Paris, 2002. ISBN 2-911073-97-5
  • Siegmann, R. Mail Art, Art postal – Art posté, Paris, 2002
  • Perneczky, G. Correspondence Works & Labels, Köln, 2003
  • Blaine, J. Mail Art 2003, VAC, Ventabren art contemporain, 2003
  • Starbuck, M.K. Clashing and Converging: Effects of the Internet on the Correspondence Art Network, Austin, University of Texas, 2003
  • Chandler, A. & Neumark, N. (Ed.). At a distance: precursors to art and activism on the Internet, MIT Press, Cambridge (MA), 2005
  • Baccelli, V. Arte Postale – Mail art, Tesseratto Editore, Seville (E), 2009
  • Lomholt, N.P. & Denhart, L.A. Lomholt Mail Art Archive, Formular Press, Denmark, 2010
  • Gutiérrez Marx, G. Artecorreo: Artistas Invisibles en La Red Postal 1975–1995, Buenos Aires, Luna Verde, 2010
  • Sousa, P. (Merzmail). Mail Art – La Red Eterna, L.U.P.I., Sestao, 2011
  • Held, J. Where the Secret is Hidden: Collected Essays, 1979–2011 – Part 1 & 2, Bananafish Publications, Sacramento and San Francisco, CA, 2011
  • Bleus, G. Social Mail-Art, in: Boschi, A. 50 Years of Mail Art: 1962–2012, Museo Civico e della Mail Art di Montecarotto, p.46-47, 2012
  • dj readies (Craig J.Saper). Intimate Bureaucracies: A Manifesto, Brooklyn, NY: punctum books, 2012. ISBN 978-0615612034
  • Holsbeek, D. Guy Bleus, in: Landscape of Images, ed. Eurlings, Ellen (e.a.), Hasselt, 2012. ISBN 9789074605557
  • Chiarlone Debenedetti, B. Art through Postal Service, Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso S.p.A., ilmiolibri, Roma, 2013
  • Galántai G. & Klaniczay J. (Ed.). Artpool: The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe, Budapest, 2013. ISBN 978-963-08-7225-6
  • Crombez, T. Arm theater in een gouden tijd. Ritueel en avant-garde na de Tweede Wereldoorlog, Lannoo, Leuven, 2014. ISBN 978-94-0141-711-2
  • Ramon, R. Vorm & Visie. Geschiedenis van de Concrete en Visuele Poëzie in Nederland en Vlaanderen, Poëziecentrum, Ghent, 2014. ISBN 978-9056550851
  • Pianowski, F. Análisis Histórico del Arte Correo en América Latina, Universitat de Barcelona, 2014
  • Held, J. Small Scale Subversion: Mail Art & Artistamps, TAM-Publications, Breda, 2015. ISBN 978-1-329-05805-7
  • Sarenco, Benetton L., De Vree J. Visual Poetry in Europe, imago mundi, Luciano Benetton Collection, Antiga Edizioni, 2016. ISBN 889-9657319
  • Bleus, G. Communication: 44 Statements, in: Cook, S. (ed.), Information, Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art, The MIT Press, 2016. ISBN 978-0-262-52934-1
  • Pas, J. Artists' Publications: The Belgian Contribution, Koenig Books, London, 2017. ISBN 978-3960-98-1978
  • Vuegen, Ch. Artministrator Guy Bleus in CIAP, Hasselt, in: H Art magazine # 178, 22/02/2018, p. 10.

Publications by Guy Bleus-42.292[edit]

Artists’ books, magazines and catalogues[edit]

  • Subterranean II, Academy of Arts, Ghent, 1970
  • Het Spiegelbeeld, Tongerse Kunstkring, Tongeren, 1974
  • Subterranean II, Tongerse Kunstkring, Tongeren, 1975
  • Are You Experienced: L.H.F. S., VUB, University, Brussels, 1981[28]
  • Mail-eARTh, De Warande, Turnhout, 1981
  • Book of Scents, TAC-42.292, Wellen, 1982
  • Arbeidsreglement, TAC-42.292, Wellen, 1982
  • Mail-Art: Initiation, Ciap, Hasselt, 1983
  • Administration: Telegraphy and Mail Art Project, Provinciaal Museum, Hasselt, 1983
  • Man is The Museum of All Things, Esmeralda, Ghent, 1983
  • W.A.A.: World Art Atlas, De Warande, Turnhout, 1983[29]
  • B:13 – Bambú 13, TAC-42.292, Wellen, 1984 (1992)
  • B.T.S. – Commonpress 56, Het Toreke, Tienen, 1984
  • 20x Communication, SHIVKV, Genk, 1986
  • Audio Art: Screams (Against Bureaucracy), Provinciaal Museum, Hasselt, 1989
  • Art is Books: Artists’ Books, PCOB, Hasselt, 1990
  • Huurboekje, Rent book, TAC-42.292, Wellen, 1990
  • Mail-Art Manual Do Viajante em Portugal, Cultuurcentrum, Heusden-Zolder, 1991[30]
  • Fax-Performances, C.C. Heusden-Zolder, 1992
  • A Networking Fax-Project & Performance, De Fabriek, Eindhoven, 1993
  • Building Plans & Schemes, C.C. Heusden-Zolder, 1993
  • The Timeless Calendar, Vaes & Il Ventuno, Neerpelt, Hasselt, 1993
  • E-Pêle-Mêle: Electronic Mail-Art Netzine, TAC–42.292, Hasselt, 1994–1998
  • Mail-Art: A Dialogue between the Postman and his Electronic Shadow, PCBK & TAC-42.292, Hasselt, 1994
  • In a memory of Ray Johnson, TAC-42.292, Hasselt, 1995
  • Mail-art Memorabilia, Postal Museum, Brussels, 1995
  • The Artistamp Collection, Centrum voor Kunsten, Hasselt, 1995
  • Sealed Confessions: Private Art Detective / Werken met geuren, The Thrill of Working with Odours, C.C. Heusden-Zolder, 1996
  • Re: The E-Mail-Art & Internet-Art Manifesto, TAC-42.292, Hasselt, 1997
  • Working in A Coal-Mine: Fax- & Internet-Art Project, Our House, Genk, 1997
  • Re: The E-Mail-Art & Internet-Art Manifesto – Part II, TAC-42.292, Hasselt, 1998
  • Kunstenaarsboeken, (artists’ books), Literair Museum, Hasselt, 1998

CD-ROM and DVD-ROM[edit]

  • The Artistamp Collection: with an X, E-Mail-Art Archives, Hasselt, 1996
  • The Artistamp Collection: without an X, E-Mail-Art Archives, Hasselt, 1996
  • Eutopia, Het Gouvernement, Maastricht, 1997
  • Desks: 1001 Bureaus, Centrum Beeldende Kunst, Groningen, 1998
  • 1899 Gezelle 1999, Visual poetryNet poetry, Bruges, 1999
  • Artbiorix, De Velinx, Tongeren, 2000
  • S:L:K – Olfactory Mail Art project, Z33, Hasselt, 2005


  1. ^ Bex, F., Baudson, M., e.a.. L’art en Belgique depuis 1975. Antwerp : Fonds Mercator, 2001.[1]
  2. ^ [2] Prof. Dr. Van den Bossche, Marc. The 'system' – Guy Bleus as a critic of technical thinking, in: Pêle-Mêle: Guy Bleus® – 42.292, Hasselt, 2010
  3. ^ Held, Jr., John. Mail Art: An Annotated Bibliography, Metuchen, 1991
  4. ^ [3] Manifesto 'The Thrill of Working with Odours' 1978
  5. ^ Hermans, Ivan. Guy Bleus in: High Performance, Issue 22, Vol.6, n°2, 1983
  6. ^ Olfactive installation 1998
  7. ^ Guy Bleus - 42.292 Facebook[4]
  8. ^ Force Mental, nr. 14, Dec. 1986, p. 507
  9. ^ Performance – Value Shredder 1982, Gallery Entr'act, Brussels on YouTube
  10. ^ [5] Guy Bleus-42.292, Are You Experienced?, 1981. Lomholt mail art archive Denmark
  11. ^ [6] World Art Atlas, 1982. Lomholt mail art archive Denmark
  12. ^ [7] Telegraphy – & Mail Art Project, 1983. Lomholt mail art archive Denmark
  13. ^ Held, Jr., John. Mail Art Shows, 1970–1985, Dallas 1986
  14. ^ [8] Guy Bleus-42.292, Fax Art Project & Performance, De Fabriek, Eindhoven, 1993
  15. ^ [9] Biography Guy Bleus
  16. ^ Works by or about Guy Bleus in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  17. ^
  18. ^ Perneczky, Géza. Artists’ Stamps, in: Stamp Images, Budapest, 1987
  19. ^ Perneczky, Géza. The Magazine Network: The Trends of Alternative Art in the Light of Their Periodicals 1968–1988, Cologne, 1993
  20. ^ Pêle-Mêle. Guy Bleus - 42.292, ed. R. Geladé, N. Coninx & F. Bleus, Cultuurcentrum, Hasselt, 2010, p.128
  21. ^ Bleus, Guy. The Artistamp Collection 1995–1996 [10] [11]
  22. ^ Bleus, Guy. E-Pêle-Mêle: E-Mail-Art Netzine, Vol.III, n° 1, 1997
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 26, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Belgian Postal Service – Journée du Timbre: Mail-Art, 2003
  24. ^ Z33 Archived March 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Scents : Locks : Kisses
  26. ^ CCHa Archived March 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ [12] John Held Jr., World Bibliography of Mail Art
  28. ^ [13] Bleus, G. Are You Experienced? L.H.F.S.
  29. ^ [14] Bleus, G. World Art Atlas : Mail eARTh Project
  30. ^ [15] Bleus, G. Mail Art Manual : do viajante em Portugal

External links[edit]