On a long-distance flight from Hamburg to Paris, then onward to New York, Israeli artist Yuval Pudik was addressing postcards. These postcards, however, were not to friends or relatives, but strangers—people he knew of, was acquainted with, or admired from afar.
Pudik didn’t purchase the postcards from a gift shop or tourist destination, and they possessed none of the hallmarks of travel. Instead of writing a note in the space to the left of the recipient’s address, Pudik created a collage; and, where an image of, say, the Eiffel Tower should appear, the postcards remained completely blank, save for a few minuscule letters scrawled along one edge in pen reading @verbal_gains.
The handle, in stark contrast to the analog mode of communication it amended, and certainly small enough to be easily overlooked, served as the only authorial mark indicating from whom and for what purpose the postcards were being sent. And while the handle led to an Instagram account with no name, no information, and no posts, it had nearly four thousand followers and counting.
Pudik, a queer multimedia artist from rural Israel, sought to start a conversation. He wanted to share something of himself: an aesthetic, an idea, a nod towards mutual interests or mutual understanding—a veritable studio visit without the studio or the visit. The postcards foregrounded his distinct visual lexicon of hyper-realistic charcoal drawings, found imagery and vintage gay porn, highlighter yellow and bright red, and circular cut outs or other hard-edged graphic motifs.
In so doing, they alluded to the various subjects of his work: identity, race, history, and sexuality, and reflected his archival tendency to amass materials that attest to personal experiences or cultural phenomena. Innately characterized by juxtaposition, his practice, and now the postcards, formulate alternate narratives and commentaries, breaking open the expected in the creation of something new.
This endeavor to forge connection through anonymity consequently serves as a performative outgrowth of his established practice.