DARE to be Different
Text(s) by Yvette Amann and Dieter Buchhart
23.8 x 30.7 cm
Language: English, German
As the graffiti movement reached Europe from the USA in the mid 1980s, Sigi “DARE” von Koeding, who was born in Basel (Switzerland), was one of the protagonists playing a major role. As one of the first writers, the network of friends he created stretched over half a continent. He further developed the painting of simple pseudonyms (or tags) and thereby established his own distinctive 3D-style that he later more and more often realized and perfected on canvas using a brush. In this way he built a bridge from the back-alley atmosphere typical of the scene to the art world of avant-garde galleries.
Graffiti was now not just a special form of claiming territory by adolescents but, under the aegis of von Koeding, it became an urban spectacle with large-scale mural creations, often in combination with well-organised competitions or cultural festivals. On a much smaller scale DARE managed by repeatedly transferring “his” four letters onto canvas, just using layout, form and colouration, to give the observer an insight into his personality. In this way, until his death in 2010, he reached completely new audiences. At the same time, he caused a change of perspective for people interested in culture, who would have automatically associated graffiti solely with vandalism.
As a pioneer of the sprayer generation, even today DARE enjoys the highest respect of his colleagues. In his hometown of Basel graffitis can be found that after 25 (!) years have not been painted over. The book “DARE to be different” documents, on about 250 pages, graffiti and numerous sketches from all over Europe as well as a large part of Koeding’s multifaceted life’s work that he has left to us on canvas.