The Letter Box Show was an artistic exploration of the letter box as a reflection of our personality, prompted here by the work of Aotearoa New Zealand sculptor Jeff Thomson. Artists who were invited to participate drew from a range of practices, including painting, sculpture, craft, and architecture.
This was to encourage diversity in approach and response towards the exploration and examination of what is considered art. The letter box was used by the artists as a metaphorical space of embossed communication through the written and drawn form. The letter box in its physical form is used as a repository and holding point, functioning as a transitional point for messages. However, by using unconventional materials, shapes, and colours it is also a site of identification and identity of the owner. As a beautifully crafted object it is an extension of the house and has the potential to exhibit a range of whimsical, humorous, or monumental character.
In the 1990s people living in the city may have desired elaborate letterboxes to adorn their front gates, while those in more rural areas of the country may have preferred something quirky, handmade with kiwi ingenuity that made full use of materials at hand. As a site of identification, the letter box is bound to points of locations such as house number, street and property names, but can also indicate personal identity when crafted and decorated to indicate the owner’s vocation or passions.
→ Stamp of approval for letterbox art, New Zealand Herald, 1991
→ The Letter Box Show, 1991, exhibition card