Tape, lines and colours: tape art for telling the story of our modern age

Interview with Nicolas Lawin and Stephan Meissner, two young Berlin-based artists from the Tape That collective, developing a new kind of street art

Home life Tape, lines and colours: tape art for telling the story of our modern age
Tape, lines and colours: tape art for telling the story of our modern age

Stephan Meissner and Nicolas Lawin are drawing on the wall, putting the last few lines to a collection of twisting curves that look like a circuit. These wavy images all head in a specific direction and never cross - the emotion these images convey along with the powerful colours is typical of the work these two artists from Berlin create. 

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The pair are members of Tape That, a six-person collective that makes tape art. This is a new type of street art which uses tapes and adhesives, and the collective have created a piece for Pirelli to mark the Gran Premio di Monza. “People are often struck by our work. We like to surprise our audience with innovative ideas - in this instance we’ve tried to bring our world and Pirelli’s wold closer together. I associate speed with power, and I’ve tried to put this idea forward with these lines,” says Lawin.

The collective is based in Berlin, but they’re in demand the world over. One of their strengths is that they can choose who they want to work with. Tape That doesn’t want too many restrictions and tries to work independently so they can put forward and pursue their own ideas. “I think this is a key part of our work - we’re not products and we don’t like being given instructions by communication companies. Our art is a way of conveying a message, sure - but to be able to do that we need total freedom to choose and to create,” Meissner tells us. 

The group has a very clear philosophy. Their work is rarely based on a specific framework; the artists are given some creative in-put and let their ideas lead the way. “So many different things can give us inspiration. We’re very often influenced by the envi-ronment around us or the location where we have to create a project. There are a million variables that can change everything.”

As soon as the finishing touches are put to this project, it conveys the idea of speed and of power. The path the lines trace and the colours added to them match with the Pirelli concept very well. “This is kind of the idea we wanted to put forward. When we were given the opportunity to collaborate, we jumped at it. We find events like this really stimulating. I also think it reflects the concept of innovation - Pirelli has always kept up with the latest trends and this new type of art can only help spread this way of thinking”.

Tape That places a strong emphasis on cooperation. They work as a single block, but each of the artists is free to think up and put forward ideas. “Comparing ideas and exchanging views on an ongoing basis is the right way to do things, it lets us inspire one another”. When they’re finished in Monza, Meissner and Lawin are flying to Helsinki for design wee, “Just now we’re managing and selling our products pretty well. We have a lot of work going on for the rest of this year”.

The way the pair work seems to help them and make them feel at ease. Berlin is a cosmopolitan city which meets their needs. “The culture around street art is more developed there than it is in Italy. There are exceptions, though - Milan, for instance, we find stunning and full of surprises. We hope we’ll be able to collaborate more closely with artists abroad so we can develop our network and projects. I think out art is really unique in the way it reflects the modern world”. 

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