Spotlight on Anonymous Drawings

Anonymous Drawings 2014 / based in Berlin ©

Thank goodness it’s Friday! That means another Spotlight on one of Artconnect Berlin‘s super creative users; Anonymous Drawings certainly fits the bill. Anonymous Drawings, as the name suggests, organise exhibitions where they present drawings without the name of the artist. Since their founding in 2006, more than 5000 artists worldwide have participated in the project, with at least 10 shows taking part here in Berlin. And lots more to come! Get to know more about them by reading the interview that we’ve done with Anke Becker, founder of Anonymous Drawings.

Anonymous Drawings 2013 / Galerie Delikatessenhaus, Leipzig ©

Hello to Anonymous Drawings today! Obviously Artconnect Berlin has already heard of Anonymous Drawings but could you tell us a little bit about what you do?

Anonymous Drawings is an exhibition-project with drawings, always preceded by an open call to participate. All selected drawings will be presented anonymously; without the artists’ names. During the exhibitions the works are available for a unit sales price of 150 € each. The artist’s anonymity can only be revealed by a sale: the buyer takes the drawing right off the wall and the empty space left behind will be marked with the artist‘s full name and point of origin. For every exhibition I select roughly 400-800 works – always depending on the size of the available exhibition space.

Anonymous Drawings 2013 / Temporary Art Centre - Eindhoven, NL ©

Why do you keep the artists’ names anonymous?

I want to create an exhibition setting where the visitors have the chance to develop their very personal definition of value and quality regarding the exhibited works. I wonder how one’s own assessment changes if there is no additional information about the artist and if the sales price is standardised. With Anonymous Drawings I aim to create a new space for unprejudiced viewing, judging and purchasing of art. And for the artists, anonymity can also be an interesting point: they can check out how their drawings work without any side-information. And it is definitely a chance to sell a work to a person who really loves it: one can be sure that with a sale the drawing has been selected carefully among many others. The fact that the buyer made his/her choice exclusively based on the work can actually be very satisfying!

 Anonymous drawing/catalog 2013 ©

How and why did you think of setting up Anonymous Drawings? Did it start with the crowd funding campaign you did? Could you tell us a bit about that as well?

The Anonymous Drawings project was founded in the year 2006 – a time where the sales prices on the art market became more and more irrational and bizarre. Anonymous Drawings is meant as a conceptual statement against the omnipresent name-hype, the absurd sales prices and a general egomania in the art-world. The crowd funding campaign happened last year – to me it seemed to be the perfect way to raise money for this kind of art project. Crowd funding works very similar to the Anonymous Drawings Project: many different people contribute money (or drawings) with the aim to create a collective project. Thanks to a truly supportive crowd, we were able to realise an international open call, three consecutive exhibitions in Berlin, Leipzig and Eindhoven and we printed a beautiful catalogue – all this in 2013. For 2014 we downsized the project only slightly, with the decision to do a local call for artists with a Berlin mailing address. But be sure, this is just a breathing time before we start a new international call again, next year – quite certain.

 Anonymous drawing/catalog 2013 ©

 Anonymous drawing/catalog 2013 ©

Whom are you trying to target and how do try to do that?

I try to reach the most different artists – regardless of their gender or biography, regardless of whether they live in big cities or in provincial towns. When selecting the drawings for the shows I focus on the work itself, no matter if the author is an established artist or a person who draws only occasionally.  Works by well known artists go hand in hand with so-called “outsider art”, with works by yet unknown artists and even with kids’ works. I arrange all the drawings into a well-thought-out all-over-installation. I try to unify works that are visually very different into a total work of art. I consider Anonymous Drawings a collective collage composed of drawings.

Anonymous Drawings 2013 / Kunstverein Tiergarten-Galerie Nord, Berlin ©

How do you select which drawings you are going to exhibit? 

The selection process is a highly subjective and a very intimate situation. I conduct the selection anonymously – without looking at the artist’s names at the reverse side of the drawings – that is I find myself in a very similar situation as the visitors of the show. I look closely at each drawing and try to make my decision without thinking too much, spontaneously, based on my long-time experience with drawings and the way they go together well. For me the selection for each exhibition is a bit like writing: I look for the words to create new and interesting content and sense. Selecting the drawings, I deal with them like with the single words of a complex text: I am seeking to pick drawings of different formal styles and artistic approaches that still make visual sense together. I am looking for drawings that have their very own fascination and originality. Technical perfection or a raw beauty, conceptual works or figurative pieces – there is nothing I would exclude on principle. I like the idea of composing an exhibition where the tension between the single pieces arises from a high level of diversity but not from wild randomness. Admittedly this can be a tightrope walk – but I always think it is definitely worth a try!

anonymous drawing/catalog 2013 ©

 How does the open call work? Can anyone apply? 

This year the call is eligible for artists with a Berlin mailing address. The application is free of charge. CVs, artist statements or portfolios are not requested: we only ask to submit one original drawing, the filled out application form and a return envelope. It is pretty simple!

Anonymous drawing/catalog 2013 ©

Anonymous drawing/catalog 2013 ©

Is there anything you’d like to say to all creatives out there? This is your chance for a shout out!

Do you have a Berlin mailing address? Do you like drawing? Yes?? If so: submit your drawings until April 11 at the latest! Please find the detailed guidelines + application form here. Or visit the opportunity on Artconnect Berlin.

For more information on Anonymous Drawings and what they’re doing now or in the future, please visit their website, Facebook and Twitter. Or simply register for their newsletter here.

Take a look at Anonymous Drawings on Artconnect Berlin!




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