David Schiesser

Icon Flex: Non-Permanent Templates, 2017
Digital print on Forex, adhesive film and wallpaper, acrylic paint
Dimensions variable
Courtesy the artist

David Schiesser covered the façade of the Frankfurter Kunstverein with a site-specific wall installation, which he collaged with reduced graphic drawings from the art of tattooing and photographs of tattooed bodies. The work extended from the exterior space into the entrance area of Frankfurter Kunstverein and visually introduced the exhibition.

David Schiesser’s large-format room paintings and wall interventions, his drawings on canvas and wood, and his tattoo designs are based on the visual language and motif worlds of antiquity and the Middle Ages. For his new work at Frankfurter Kunstverein, Schiesser expanded his practice from drawing to collage, combining his profound knowledge of art history and its references with the repertoire and pictorial codex of tattoo culture.

He combined photographs of bodies, on whose skin he had tattooed his figures, with drawings, which he transferred from the space of the photographic image into architectural space. The lines from the body image spread beyond, to the façade and walls of the Kunstverein, where they became autonomous wall paintings. Schiesser’s figurative depictions draw on science fiction and mythology, while at the same time quoting avant-garde masters such as Picasso, Miró or Matisse, who tested the power of the sign in its extreme reduction to line and form for its essential validity.

Schiesser draws from art history as well as from a wealth of online databases, using this repertoire of images as reference material, modifying and transferring it into a new context. He seeks the interface between art and the aesthetic codes of tattoo culture. The image carrier is human skin, on which he stitches his motifs in black and white one-line style. He finds analogies to current phenomena and investigates how they can be translated into a generally understandable visual language. His drawings, which people wear on their bodies, become permanent carriers of meaning for them. In designing them, Schiesser works through the demand to create a final image with which someone will live, but perfectionism is not the goal. His search does not strive for trendy embellishment and superficial design of the body but starts with a line that claims an aesthetic validity. It lays claim to authenticity and recognizability, demanding an individual style. For Schiesser, skin is the extension of the playing field because it is in motion, it changes and thus so does his design method for it accoridngly.


David Schiesser (*1989, Offenbach, DE) studied with Manfred Stumpf and Prof. Eike König at the University of Art and Design Offenbach (DE). In 2014, Schiesser opend a private tattoo studio in Offenbach (DE). The artist lives and works in Berlin (DE).

The artists had in the following institutions group exhibitions (selection):
Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig (DE), Galerie Kenilworth, Milwaukee (US), Kressmann Halle, Offenbach (DE), 68, Köln (DE), Isenburger Schloss, Offenbach (DE)