The blank piece of paper

femme nue entendue, edgar degas,

femme nue etendue, edgar degas,

In all art, it seems, the blank piece of paper is a fetish-like object. It somehow predates what later may (or may not) be a „work“, whereas the sketch (e.g. drawing, idea, notes and so on) is oftenly not given the credit that it probably should have. Without notes and drawings, without idea, trial and error, there is nothing like a work or art itself, because it is dependant in all its facettes – from writing to music to contemporary visual – on idea and error. Interestingly enough, especially artists themselves find a keen interest in „work sketches“ of their colleaugues and the „unfinished“ pieces of work, like the unfinished painting „La repasseuse“ by french impressionist Degas from 1869, where the sketches of different figurations of the subject are to be seen on the canvas. For me this painting had something astonishing contemporary because of its unfinished, raw state that resembles the „idea“ of the work rather than being a „work“ in the classical sense.

Exhibition view, anonymous drawings, Zürich

Exhibition view, anonymous drawings, Zürich

Although Drawing is so often neglected in the art world and the art market, there are interesting, specialised projects cocerning the subject. Particularily famous is the Exhibition series „Anonymous Drawings“, founded 2006 in Berlin by artist and (now) curator Anke Becker. Artists are invited to submit drawings which are afterwards in selection anonymously displayed in an exhibition. Famous artists have to compete with their rather unknown colleagues in an intriguing setup. With names beside the drawing you might think: oh, it is that guy, famous, how interesting. Without a name it is your taste and the craftmanship of the artist that guides your view. If you are an artist, you can participate on the project – please find the call for entries here.

Alessandro Vitali, 2012, Untitled, pencil on paper, 29,5x20 cm, posted on the drawing storage project website

Alessandro Vitali, 2012, Untitled, pencil on paper, 29,5×20 cm, posted on the drawing storage project website

Another project will feature drawings by 31 artists in the end is „Drawing storage„, curated by Giovanna Sarti. The idea for the project formed through continously visiting artist studios and seeing the oftenly neglected drawings on the wall or on the table. In the end there will be an archive of very different drawings, ideas and worksketches, some intriguing, some powerfull, some quiet and beautifull.


Über philippkoch

author and curator, specializing in literature and writing on visual arts
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  1. Pingback: The blank piece of paper | philippkoch

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