EJ Major's love is... series is a mail art project on an epic scale. We're showing six prints from the series at the London Art Fair, along with the accompanying book.
EJ Major's limited edition book and prints for her love is… series are the outcome of a mail art project which took place between 2004 and 2006, involving screenshots based on each second of the film Last Tango in Paris.
Converted into postcards, each screenshot was then hand-delivered to recipients in London and the West Midlands, with an invitation to complete the sentence 'love is...' and return it to the artist. This extraordinary collaborative project became a meditation on the nature of love and an exploration of the power of film to infiltrate our collective consciousness.
Interview with EJ Major
Could you tell us about the origins of the Love is... project? What was it about the film, Last Tango in Paris?
Last Tango in Paris is a film I've watched again and again. The film is shot beautifully and its construction is simultaneously episodic and climactic, so it has both pace and presence. Much focus has been given to the sex scenes in the film and for good reason. They are a mix of passion, tenderness and viciousness and within the canvas of a film, difficult to reconcile.
This is part of my fascination with the film. Also I don’t, though many do, see the film as “about sex” in the way that say pornography may be said to be about sex.
I do see the film as more “about love”, predominantly romantic love but not exclusively. The thrust of the film is the relationship between the two central characters but in its episodic construction we are given insights into the relationships between these characters and others, familial and romantic and here I see the film as determinedly anti-cliché. This was important in putting it alongside a prompt like ‘love is…’.
How did the project progress. What kind of responses did you get?
The responses are as diverse as the people who responded. Some are predictable others unexpected, some are outpourings, others very stark, some are sad, angry even, while others are funny, life-affirming or very personal meditations on the subject.
One person just Tipp-Exed out the ‘love is…’ and returned the card, a subtle but quite unsettling response. Someone else wrote: “You need to get a life mate!” which always makes me smile.
Contributed by Lesley Guy
Lesley is an artist, writer and curator based in Sheffield. She is also a Content Curator at Axisweb.