Claim to anonymity (2006)
If anonymity on the broader social level is often linked with the illegal, the suspicious or the threatening, then what is the case with anonymity in the art world?
Is it possible that a claim to anonymity might challenge the art world system, since such a claim would probably hinder the entire mechanism of art management and consumption?
From the contemporary perspective, anonymity seems to contradict the very existence of artists themselves as it entails a deliberate, self-destructive act on their part: a canceling out of the artistic persona, a nullification or marginalisation of the artist’s work and of the system of trade or exchange of which it would be a part.
Could it be, though, that a passive acceptance of this kind of impasse, which is clearly antagonistic to this system, is fuelled only by anxiety; an anxiety which is in turn reproduced by means of a dominant ideology (a product of the value system by which western societies measure success; promoting values such as fame and fortune), in which artists find themselves trapped, ultimately drifting further away from their work’s true essence?
My deliberate claim to anonymity in the context of this exhibition – an act which might to all intents and purposes resemble a futile free-fall into an absolute void – is, I think, a form of resistance to these particular mechanisms of recognition, acceptance, dissemination and exchange which form an integral part of the dominant art world status quo.
It is a call for transcending the self and the artistic ego, for undermining the idea of ‘image’ and a certain role, not in the sense of renouncing the responsibilities these entail, but in that of breaking free from the restrictions they impose.
This may very well be an unrealistic attempt, but the idea behind it is both a symbolic act and an effort, albeit brief, to make the artistic act and its contribution the sole centre of our attention.
This project was exhibited at:
30th ANNUAL, 6th BIENNIAL
EXHIBITION OF VISUAL + ART
OPEN AND INVITED e v+ a 2006
(On generosity, giving, sharing and social exchange)
10th March – 21st May 2006
Curator: Katerina Gregos
“If there is a connection between generosity and social justice, and if generosity is not merely an individual virtue but openness fundamental to human existence, sociality and social formation, then it may turn out that although nothing currently anticipates the idea of generosity, there is nonetheless an urgent need to address the public about it”.
Dorothea Olkowski on Rosalyn Diprose’s book: Corporeal Generosity: On Giving with Nietsche, Merleau-Ponty and Levinas (Albany, SUNY Press, 2002)