Reclaim Award

Cologne’s Reclaim Award Turns Billboards Into Artworks

Every year, Cologne's Reclaim Kollektiv organises a competition for artists to exhibit their work on billboards in the city.

The aim of the Reclaim Award is to redefine public space as a place for art. The organisers want to contribute culturally to the city and make Cologne’s urban profile more attractive. In the city alone, there are about 8,000 advertising surfaces that have a great impact on public space. Reclaim Kollektiv wants to co-design these urban façades so they become “cultural conceptual surfaces, artistic canvases, or photographic landscapes.”

Reclaim Award
Artwork by Caspar Wündrich. Photo Reclaim Award
Reclaim Award
Artwork by Simon Freund. Photo Reclaim Award
Reclaim Award
Artwork by Anke Stiller. Photo Reclaim Award

Moreover, the initiators want to “stimulate, illustrate diversity and difference and open conceptual spaces.” Inspiring, active and promoting experimental and lateral thinking instead of constant passive media consumption. “Easily perceivable, public and for everyone!” However, the Reward is also fully aware of the underlying power relations that operate behind something as seemingly trivial as a billboard. Such advertising surfaces are most often organised by the city, meaning that the city and its service providers are responsible for the focus of the presented content. Yet, if these surfaces are made open to cultural workers and artists, the ‘owners’ have the opportunity to culturally improve the urban landscape.

Reclaim Award
Artwork by Caspar Wündrich. Photo Reclaim Award
Reclaim Award
Artwork by Tobias Handorf. Photo Reclaim Award
Reclaim Award
Artwork by Jana Sophie Nolle. Photo Reclaim Award

By renting billboards, the collective contributes to the enhancement of the public space, while through the award, it promotes interest in art and in Cologne as a cultural centre. It’s also an opportunity for artists to show their work with a large audience. The selected artworks are exhibited on the billboards for 10 days. This year’s application deadline is in one week. Click here to send in your work.

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