The Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión

Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Perfect Slander, 42 × 59,4 cm, ink on watercolor paper, 2015

Coordinated by Arnisa Zeqo

Je m’appelle Ulises
et toi comment t’appelles-tu?

The Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión takes the work and methods of the Mexican artist Ulises Carrión (1941–89) as a starting point in order to explore cultural strategies and practices at the intersection between literature, performance art, conceptual art, and life. This Society opens up paths of research and thinking about art, culture, and the stories circulating through unread pages, through regular meetings with artists, curators, writers, fans and scholars alike. More than just consisting in a discussion of the artist’s work, the meetings try to challenge the participants’ political imagination in the manner of Carrión.

Ulises Carrión began his artistic life in the literary circles of Mexico in the 1950s and left to study literature in France and England in the 1960s. He settled in Amsterdam in the early 1970s, where he could freely live his personal relations and reinvent himself as an artist. He called himself a “wetback,” a derogatory term for foreign citizens, and his writing mutated from Spanish into English, Dutch, and French. A combination of these languages can be found in both his work and his diaries. It has been said that Ulises Carrión was actually several Carrións. Through the years his practice and engagement shifted from literature to performance, artist’s books, archives, mail art, popular culture and theory, yet always with a precise interest in cultural strategies and daily life. In 1975 he initiated the gallery bookshop Other Books and So in Amsterdam, where he organized performances and presentations on an irregular basis. He engaged with good manners and rumors on several occasions. In 1984 he brought the Mexican actress Lilia Prado to Amsterdam to attend The Lilia Prado Superstar Film Festival, organized by Carrión. His inquiry into cultural strategies and communication tactics relied on his transnational relationships with different agents. He asked: Where does the border lie between an artist’s work and the actual organization and distribution of work?

With Carrión, the Society is interested in encountering bookworks, rumors, plagiarism, chewing gum, dispersed archives, a new art of making books, emotions, weather reports, soap operas, burglaries, rubber stamps, mirror sonnets, erratic desires, registries, plastic flowers, alphabets, idioms of everyday life, secret alphabets, trios and boleros, performances, stars, disseminations.

All events of the Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión are free and open to the public.

Posted in Public Programs

Diaries as a space of histories

with Murat İssi, Katerina Tselou, and Arnisa Zeqo

This public presentation takes the work developed by Banu Cennetoğlu for documenta 14 in Athens as a departure point for opening a discussion on diaries—the intimate annotations of one’s life—as…


#7 documenta 12
Is Modernity Our Antiquity?

with Yannis Hamilakis and Arnisa Zeqo

(Starting at the pavilion and then walking towards the hill)

Is modernity our antiquity? This was a question posed by documenta 12 in 2007. In light of the social, political…


Blood Memory

with Lala Meredith-Vula and Arnisa Zeqo

In the 1990s, a civil movement organized at grassroots level by students and villagers to try to reconcile the thousands of feuding families around Kosova. These blood feuds were based on an old law that…


Bookworks Revisited: This Is a Poem

with Tina Pandi and Kyrillos Sarris

For the second public meeting of The Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión we invite you to Bookworks Revisited: This Is a Poem, a presentation and discussion focusing on different strands of and correspondences between art and poetry, writing as art, and the stories around the artists and writers of the Visual Poetry Group, active mainly in Athens since 1981…


Encountering: Gesture as Event, or The Conceptual Body

with Hendrik Folkerts, Amelia Jones, and Arnisa Zeqo

We warmly invite you to the inauguration of The Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión. This Society takes the work and methods of Mexican artist Ulises Carrión (1941–89) as a starting point in order…