24 March – 20 April 2013 Kunstverein Tiergarten / Galerie Nord, Turmstrasse 75, 10551 Berlin
At 7.30pm my car pulls up outside the gallery on Turmstrasse. Never have I seen such a crowd on an opening night. Galerie Nord is a stretch of three interlinking galleries, glass fronted so the passer-by can see all the work displayed from the street. But tonight there are no passers-by; it seems all of Berlin have stopped to squeeze through the doors, and there is no chance of viewing from the street because all of the windows are steamed up and about to burst with the incredulous amount of people.
Anonyme Zeichner, brainchild of the indefatigable artist and curator Anke Becker, is an exhibition of 800 selected drawings from international artists. Each piece is selected anonymously so that the selection process is purely focused on the submitted artwork. The name of the artist is not revealed to the public, or indeed the buyer, until the drawing has been removed from the wall.
The viewing crowd is richly diverse. People from around the world have come especially for the event, as I have. There are über-trendy fashionables drinking their Becks, there are parents with young children, there are highbrow collectors sipping wine and viewing with a discerning eye; all friendly, all excited and all appreciating this mélange of fascinating drawings in an electric atmosphere.
The curation of the show is specific and concise. We are lead through the figurative, the abstract, and the conceptual, in such a way that is neither obvious nor separatist. The exhibition flows seamlessly with no focus on one genre or any hierarchy within artist or artwork. All the works have become one.
As a viewer I feel as though I am almost in an installation, perhaps a performance. When a drawing has been bought Anke Becker herself, or one of her team, appear through the crowd and begin to remove the piece. The excited buyer stands close by, watching the diligence with which the work is removed from the wall. The crowd look on, trying to glimpse the drawing and of course the identity of the new owner. The crowd parts as Anke walks through with the piece to the packing room, which is also glass fronted. Here we can peer in as the drawing is meticulously packed into a thick brown cardboard envelope and passed to the buyer along with the artist’s name and contact details.
I spend two and a half hours scouring the gallery. The artworks range from the naive to the highly accomplished, from inkjet to soldering iron. The more technical drawings are gripping, in their simplicity and indeed their complexity. There are some structural drawings here, which seem so apt for the hosting city. But what strikes me the most is that given the show is of global artists, I am unable to differentiate the nationalities by the drawings themselves. Maybe that is one of the truly interesting things about this Anonymous Drawings exhibition; no matter where you are from in the world, the current trends in Art are multi-cultural.
As I post this, the online gallery is now live and selling at quite a rate. This is your chance to snap up an original work of art for only 150 Euros. If you happen to be going to Berlin, make this your must see; but if you are at home, log on to http://www.anonyme-zeichner.de/1/online-gallery-shop/
With thanks to Jochen Wermann for the photograph. http://www.jochen-wermann.de