“Tape is the new paint”, say the 3 members of the Klebebande, Bruno Kelberg, Bodo Höbing and Kolja Buttmann, Berlin’s prominent tape art trio.
It’s hard to argue when you consider the accessibility of the art form and the names already familiar with a roll of tape – Aakash Nihalini, Buff Diss, Max Zorn (check out my interview with Max here) and even El Bocho.
Influenced by the people and places they visit, they create installations that range from the literal to the abstract, using a variety of materials they transform their surroundings in original ways, and create new images that excite your imagination.
They’ve been using this medium for the last 6 years, and their recently released book “Tape Art – Kunst mit Klebeband” (Tape art – Art with Tape) acts as a 101 guide for those looking to get involved, or appreciate the work that’s out there right now.
If you think there’s not much to tape beyond the colour, you’d be very wrong.
The book begins with an outline of the important differences between the brands and types available to artists (it turns out they are plentiful and varied for those still sceptical!) with examples of the best ways to use each.
Knowing the differences between each and how to use them is critical when it comes to this art form. Bruno, Bodo and Kolja have you covered with their comprehensive guide to both tape, and instruments for cutting it.
So you’ve got your tape, and knives, what about how to actually use them? That’s covered too. Learn how to cut, make different shapes, use different surfaces and work with them well.
The book encourages involvement in the scene as well with a detailed and really helpful section entitled ‘Projects’. It quickly becomes apparent that tape isn’t just for clean flat surfaces. It can be installed just about anywhere, fairly quickly (depending on the piece) with really impressive results.
Project ideas with accompanying step-by-step style guides include transforming chairs, denim jackets, tablet covers and even your face (perhaps more conceptual than practical thoigh!) give plenty of inspiration.
Their section on working outdoors using common features of an urban environment is really fascinating, and got me thinking about how easily you could use tape to transform elements of our surroundings.
The last of the 4 sections of the book moves to demo some of the best tape art work and artists out there at the moment, a mixture of work from the Klebebande and others active in the scene right now.
Some of the pieces in the book really are incredible. It’s often hard to believe that they’ve been created from the humble roll of tape. .
If you’re still in any doubt about the diversity of this art form, or the effects achievable with the medium, this section puts that to rest.
Check out this short gallery of some of the most exciting works. Some, but not all, available in this edition.
Overall, Tape Art is a great read, cutting into the scene and demonstrating the possibilities with an unusual medium and the lengths it has been taken to by some of the most talented artists.
The downside, for now, is that it’s only available in German. Which means as a native English speaker with very basic German, mining that information takes a bit of time, but it’s worth keeping at it.
Your patience will be paid back in full, and with interest!