COLLECTION / 1945-1989 / Europe and Unites States of America / Ulises Carrión Archive

11,000 artists books, publications and documentation.

Ulises Carrión (San Andrés de Tuxtla, Mexico, 1941–Amsterdam, 1989), an artist, writer and editor, studied philosophy and literature at the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) in Mexico City. At the beginning of the seventies, Carrión decided to leave his native country to travel around Europe, eventually settling in Amsterdam in 1972. In the Dutch city he developed his most important artistic practice, first as a member of the artist collective In-Out Center, through which he published five books, and then by founding, in 1975, OBAS (Other Books and So), a bookshop-cum-art-gallery that became one of the most important distribution and reception centres of the time for artworks by international artists who chiefly used the printed format (books, magazines, cards, etc.) to create their works. OBAS ran until 1979, reopening a year later as the archive OBASA (Other Books and So Archive).

Carrión, as Javier Maderuelo points out in his book Ulises Carrión, escritor (Ediciones La Bahía, 2016), was «an artist only if we think of him "as an artist of writing" and if we consider writing Art (with a capital A). A "new art" that not only consists of writing books but managing to rally round hundreds of people to write letters, with or without words, and to write them with new means (rubber stamps and audio- and videotapes), not because writing acquires plastic qualities, but because new writing is capable of engendering cultural situations that become strategies to tie the world of ideas with life».

Archivo Lafuente’s Ulises Carrión collection is composed of more than 11,500 items that trace his career as a writer, experimental poet, theorist, manager, performer and project artist. The documentation has been organised into two sections: one related to his own artistic creation, and the other to his management of the Other Books and So (OBAS) space, the alternative bookshop and exhibition space that Carrión later transformed into the Other Books and So Archive (OBASA). This arrangement aims to facilitate access to the documents and their study; in fact the archive could well be considered another one of Carrión’s works. The collection also includes bibliography on mail art, books by Carrión republished after his death, and the catalogues of exhibitions dedicated to the artist, which took place after 1989.

Among all these materials are works and publications by Carrión himself as well as other artists such as Aart van Barneveld, Guy Schraenen and Pawel Petasz, in addition to material related to the practice that was developed at In-Out Center and OBAS. Of particular note is the section dedicated to correspondence: hundreds of letters sent by Carrión and many other artists from all over the world.



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