First published: Spring 2023
A recently discovered collection of drawings made 60 years ago reveals the shoe fetish and other secret fantasies of an anonymous Berlin artist
It is unlikely that these recently unearthed fetish drawings and collages were ever intended to be seen by anyone other than the creator. Nothing is known about the identity of the “Anonymous Fetish Artist” from Berlin but the work is certainly the product of someone indulging their fantasies and exploring the boundaries of sexual expression, whether purely for personal consumption and gratification or to express their feelings or ideas to others. There is every chance that the maker did not even think of themself as an artist. And although the assumption is that the artist is male, there is no supporting proof for this.
Wie ein Märchen (Like a Fairy Tale), graphite pencil on paper, 10 x 13.5 in. / 25 x 34 cm
all artworks shown: thought to have been created in early 1960s, courtesy: Adam Whitaker, Henry Boxer Gallery and the abcd Collection, Paris
The body of work was found in 2016 in a flea market in Berlin, and comprises a bound book – containing 30 or so works on paper or card – and a few larger loose drawings. Many of the artworks are double sided, while some of the loose works have been drawn on the back of calendars from the early 1960s, which tells us they were created around or after this time but nothing more concrete.
Desk and Bondage, graphite and coloured pencil on paper, 13.5 x 10 in. / 34 x 25 cm
The works present an intriguing mix. There are pencil drawings that resemble fashion plates or 1950s footwear adverts; other pieces have more provocative undertones, and some are patently fetishistic – for example, the cover of the book, which is titled Wien Ein Märchen (Like a Fairytale) and shows a pair of legs in stiletto-heeled boots and chained together.
Go-go Girls, graphite and coloured pencil and collage on paper, 12 x 16 in. / 30 x 40 cm
Some of the works freely combine coloured pencil drawing and collaged photographic elements, with photos or magazine clippings often orientated in a different plane to the drawing. Golden Era German filmstars feature, as do 1960s go-go girls, dancing or posing like Bond girls. Some of the “pin-ups” are more unlikely: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appear, as does Uta Ranke Heinemann (theologian, academic, author and daughter of the 1969–1974 president of Germany), wearing silver pumps.
By ADAM WHITAKER
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #114.