Anna Franke (1980, Erlangen, Germany) combines painting, collage, everyday life and nature. She creates multi-layered structures and relief-like surfaces to express the complexity of our time. Focusing on the process, she playfully deals with chance, order and disorder.
Anna loves experimenting with unusual materials: earth, mud, collected objects from nature, beach debris, text fragments and advertising motifs from old magazines. She analyses modern myths like digital information overload, mass consumption and longing for nature. In this process among creating, moving, changing and destroying, she feels the traces of transience in the fast-moving world. Her paintings conceal ironic details that invite to discovery.
The artist graduated in Communication Design at the Nuremberg University of Applied Sciences in 2007, with further international studies in Vienna and Salamanca. She worked for several years as an art director in important advertising agencies, later as an editorial illustrator specialising in conceptual illustration. She founded the collage collective “Collagitos“. (Hamburg-Berlin). Since 2020, she has devoted herself exclusively to personal projects. She commutes between Germany, Spain and Portugal, and currently works in her studio in Galicia (Northern Spain).
Group exhibitions: Gallery Affenfaust (2012), Hamburg, Artstore St. Pauli (2013), Hamburg, Offspace-Gallery nachtspeicher23 e.V. (2013), Hamburg; artroom, Berlin (2014), Millerntorgallery #9, (International Festival for Art, Music and Culture), (2019), Millerntorgallery #11 (2023)
Solo exhibitions: German-Syrian Society e.V., Hamburg (2012), Gallery Monarc (2013), Hamburg,
University of Hamburg / Arab Culture Weeks (2014), Hamburg, Hotel Barceló (2015), Hamburg
Earth Paintings (2023)
Painting experiments in the landscape
Using painterly, graphic and photographic means, Anna Franke reflects the movements in nature in relation to time, vegetation, weather phenomena, heat, dryness, energy, elemental force and mysticism. She analyses the aesthetics of the surfaces down to the smallest detail and transfers the textures directly onto the canvas (frottage) by means of transfer abrasion. The raw canvas fabric is not stretched but formed into organic shapes by exposure to water, paint, egg and earth.
She lets paint run into the folds of the fabric to grasp the rhythms, energies and movements of the landscape. Afterwards she sews collected things such as rusty cans, bones, dried grass or strings into the furrows of the fabric (assemblage), while she works with a reduced colour palette with strong light-dark contrasts to focus the textures. Organic structures emerge that tell stories of the long past and visualise dimensions of time.
Anna is interested in expanding traditional formats, the connection between outside and inside. The artist discovers new possibilities of painting by working outside the studio and getting closer to nature. It is about expressing the interplay of sensitivity, fragility, freedom and wildness.
Anna Franke started this kind of experimentation during her last Art Residency at Joya:AiR (February / 2023) in the south of Almeria, Andalusia, Spain.
(Materials: raw canvas, earth, clay, charcoal, oil pastels, Chinese ink, natural pigment, eggs, glue, leaves, branches, barks, rusty objects, thread, strings)
Wall Sculptures (2023)
With the installations of collected objects Anna tells stories of journey, change, transition.
The sea is always in motion. In everything that washes ashore, transience and destruction become visible in the drawings and structures of the force of nature. She examines objects that have been on the move, transformed by weather and by the water masses. Special things to which she gives a new value. Plastic parts, wood, parts of animals, human traces, organic, strange. She is concerned with the pure, the being of things, the morbid, the stillness and the melancholy of what is left. She allows the treasures found on the coasts of Spain to enter into a new relationship with each other. They tell of eventful journeys, the long past and death.
(Assemblages, wall sculptures, installations in space)
Mixed Media Paintings (since 2011)
Anna Franke combines painting with a cross-media collage technique: the mixing of different materials (paper, paint, chalk, wax, stories, illustrations, photos, text). In her collages, Anna alienates material from several decades of advertisements, motifs of longing, holidays, eroticism, romantic consumption, kitsch and gossip. The unrelated elements tell new stories in their interplay. She uses the aesthetics of advertising to radically alienate them and to question entrenched ideals. She tears out faces, eyes and mouths, cuts up messages to the point of meaninglessness and recombines the elements to create ironic or incomprehensible compositions. She digitally transforms the motifs, paints over them, tears them apart. The figures blend into the gestural abstract compositions in good disguise. The process is based on storytelling, changing, hiding, overpainting, transforming, playing between abstraction and figure, between message and nonsense. What attracts her is to blur the striking motifs behind the relief-like surface.