ART & CULTURE
Meet TAPE OVER, a crew of tape artists founded by Robert König and LaMia (Lamia Michna). They started out together in 2011 as one of the first tape art crews and has since gained recognition in Berlin, Germany and internationally. For Robert and his team, it is not just about the work but also about expressing themselves and having fun doing so. The crew work together under the principles of professionalism, diversity, sharing, and creating memories.
24. September 2019
Duct tape 'totally underrated': Interview with co-founder of TAPE OVER
By Grace Denker
Duct tapes are not only made for taping stuff together. As we recently found out, they are also made for creating jaw-dropping art works. This urban art subcategory emerged as an alternative to the aerosol cans used in graffiti making and it is now progressing as an urban art form. Today, tape art is being used by companies and individuals in interior spaces and for product exhibitions.
In Berlin, we discover a crew of creative artists with the brand name “TAPE OVER”. It was founded in 2011 and was one of the first tape art crews at the time. The company started when Robert König met LaMia (Lamia Michna) in 2010. LaMia had just started with her first tape projects on the streets of Berlin. They clicked and collaborated in creating some spectacular artworks around Berlin, turning Berlin’s vibrant clubs into their creative playground.
They worked very well together and then decided to start up the crew which they named TAPE OVER. After the crew became well-known in Berlin’s sub-cultural scene, they were offered their first professional design project for Mercedes-Benz and created a tape art installation for Mercedes Concept Style Coupé at the DMY in 2012. Today TAPE OVER has a crew of 10 artists with different backgrounds and skills, working together and inspiring each other.
In an interview with the co-founder, Robert König, he gave us some insight into the art form and into what they do at TAPE OVER. For Robert and his team, it is not just about the work but also about expressing themselves and having fun doing so. The crew’s underlying concept is working together on a personal level. They also share the underlying principles of professionalism, diversity, sharing, and creating memories.
ACL: Why duct tapes? How new is the art form?
RK: We decided to use tape, because most people use it as a tool, but not in an aesthetic context. It’s an everyday object, but totally underrated. The characteristics of tape are limiting, but it’s limitation is inspiring to us.
This art form is quite new. It started in the 90ies, but really started to become more known about 10 years ago. Today, tape art is becoming widely accepted in the world of street art, urban art or contemporary art.
ACL: Apart from creating tape art, what else does TAPE OVER do?
RK: Being a group of 10 artists with varied background and skills. So, besides tape art, we also do painting, graffiti, illustration, graphic design, product design and installations.
ACL: How are industries making use of tape art? Which industries in your experience are very receptive to the art form?
RK: We are often asked by industries to highlight their products or develop creative visual campaigns. We also do interior design for events and exhibitions, but also for long lasting office or store design.
The industry we mostly work with - at least every year -, is the automotive industry. The aesthetics of tape, its graphic and dynamic look and feel seem to be a perfect match for cars.
ACL: How many artists do you work with and how do you select your artists?
RK: Our TAPE OVER CREW has 10 artists as members but we also like to collaborate with other artists on a regular basis. A very good example is Jacques-André Dupont - a French visual artist who lives in Lyon/France. We developed a concept together called TAPE MAPPING. It’s the combination of analog Tape Art and digital Video Projection (Mapping). We’ve known each other for about 7 years now and do at least 1-2 projects together every year.
We are looking for artists who inspire us and who we can build a personal connection with.
ACL: What makes you stand out from others?
RK: Our diversity is what makes us stand out. We all have different backgrounds and very different personalities but we have a very close relationship with each other. And we are very professional and have a perfectionist attitude.
ACL: Tell us about your last art exhibition.
RK: OUR last exhibition was in Beijing, China. We signed with Modern Sky, a Chinese art agency. They made an exhibition with us at 798 art district in Beijing. We also had an exhibition with Street Art Berlin at the Factory Berlin we titled INTERBLEND. There, we displayed our full artistic range including tape art, painting, graffiti and sculptures.
ACL: What does the planning stage entail?
RK: The planning stage is a very nice one, because we meet each other a lot and just talk about things which inspire us - that means using all of our senses. It’s a lot of fun! Plus, the installation itself is very „emotional“ and spontaneous, as in a live performance.
ACL: How long does it take you to plan and finish an installation? Are the installations permanent or temporary?
RK: It really depends on how much time we need for planning as well as for finishing an installation. Firstly, there is never enough time. Secondly, a big part of the process also happens in our subconsciousness – not only during the planning phase, but also during the execution. This makes it quite hard to tell how long we actually work on a project. Our installations can be both – temporary and permanent. This depends on the purpose of the installation.
ACL: Do you have any upcoming projects or exhibitions you would like to share with us?
RK: We just finished a wonderful project at the Semperoper Dresden where we created the stage design for „Alice in Wonderland“. It was a very special project on a highly professional level. It was totally inspiring and great to watch the final result.
Now, we have some big commercial projects coming up, we are not allowed to talk about.
But in November, we are going to do another interesting project with a perfume artist. Her name is Marie Le Febvre from Urban Scents. We already did a project together where she created a perfume inspired by our art, which means that TAPE OVER has its own scent/fragrance. This time, we’ll create a tape art installation inspired by a new perfume of hers.
A very inspiring interview, many thanks to Robert.
Learn more about duct tape art and TAPE OVER.
About the Writer