Recognized as one of Berlin’s most progressive and prolific graffiti writers, Daniel Tagno has been an influential activist on the scene since the 80’s. “High End Vandalism” would be the best description for the artist’s work and action on the streets and on canvas. Tagno has been extensively featured in international exhibitions like Backjumps and Urban Affairs widely considered as the most significant forums for urban art and graffiti culture.
Tagno’s graphic style is predominately informed by his bomber background, but his use of text extends beyond the eponymous tags and throw-ups traditionally associated with graffiti. His paintings explore the symbolism of script by isolating letters as individual characters, emphasizing form over collective content. The rhythm and energy inherent in the written word is transferred to the canvas, with each letter acting as a unique emotional vessel, a reduced abstraction of human expression.
Although Tagno’s representational works can be described as figurative, the artist is more interested in the anatomy of letters, as opposed to the anatomy of the human form. “I paint writing and I write figures”, he explains. In doing so he seeks to reveal the personality latent in each letter and the poetry of script that exists even in the absence of literal meaning.
With ties to the ancient Chinese tradition of calligraphy, as well as the action painting of the German “Informel” movement and the American Abstract Expressionists, Tagno’s process is at once frenzied, yet controlled. His “one-liners”, paintings created from a single fluid movement, are as much a product of his radical graffiti origins as they are exercises in meditation, a written manifestation of the artist’s subconscious.