There’s an abandoned house tired with cracks that reveal its age. It is wearing thin of its drywall, and the structure seems to degrade and crumble right before the eyes of onlookers. It’s abandoned—but full. The white walls filled to the brim with large black letters, characters and shapes that have been strung together into a novel. The Chongqing Novel House in China draws hundreds of wanderers to the house that has itself become a story.
Scrawled on the walls by an anonymous hand is a tale of adventure and heroism. As you move within the house, you see diagrams and images which correlate along with the themes and the messages within the story, and by the house’s end, you’re left wondering, why?
Does the mysteriousness of the story’s author and the oddity of the medium for the story make the story better? The fascination of the seemingly absurd that flips the story inside out so that your whole body now moves instead of sitting still. Does it become a more meaningful piece of art because the artist is unknown?
There are many pieces of art housed in museums, private collections, and shared amongst various institutions that remain anonymous. Artifacts, public works, and contemporary pieces that push the boundaries ask different questions and provide insight in an unbiased way.
Anonymous work has a personality and identity all on its own that shapes its resulting work. There are universal thoughts and feelings which do not need to be defined by an author’s name, but rather by what the work’s audience feels after consuming it. Anonymous or not, art is a necessity for humanity and it influences us. The writing on the walls of the Chongqing Novel House is by an artist unknown, but the words and the way that they were written captivate us and keep us talking about them on their own.