SatOne / Rafael Gerlach

New Edition: “Pigments”

The Munich-based artist SatOne allows us an insight into his current studies of colours with his latest edition “Pigments”. During his stay at our Berlin studio the artist created a handcrafted 6 colour edition of 54. He is interested in how the results of the mixing process can look like imagining and adopting a perspective that resembles looking through a microscope. It is in fact a close-up of pigments that have undergone the process of mixing. Through using any tool that allows the application of a certain pressure, like a brush or a sponge, the pigments get fragmented into smaller and smaller bits and then they turn into unpredictable forms and shapes.

"Pigments" limited edition for DRAW A LINE

Concretize And Disassemble – Talking Abstract

SatOne, or rather Rafael Gerlach, is a hard thinker. Even in light conversations his answers are carefully considered, his statements well thought and with a patient mind he follows his fellow conversationalist intensely. His art is a little similar.

Growing up on the fringes of Munich, SatOne grew his virtuosity out of an adolescent interest in graffiti. A graphic design degree, many sketchbooks, and lengths of muraled walls later, he is now internationally recognised for his very graphic and abstract voice.

Resembling himself in person, his pieces of art speak with contemplation. And they always have something to say. For SatOne, the most integral part of creativity is the story. And whether or not it is obvious to the viewer, in all their abstract substance, his images exist as captured moments in time alike a distorted snapshot: abstruse, beautiful.

We invited SatOne to spend the weekend with us in Berlin where he could collaborate on the printing process of his DRAW A LINE edition “Berlin Harddisc”. Over a few days spent between our office, the printing studio and some recently painted Berlin walls, we learned that Graffiti to him has a lot to do with energy and the interactions that come with it.

“This interaction – the dialogue around the work – is what fascinates me most at the moment,” he told us. “In the long run, I feel that the energy that emanates from a project does not only come from the picture, but more the things, the impressions, the encounters that happen around it.” In his work “Berlin Harddisc” we see this energy as a transparent blue mass that flows through his print, never fading, just being reinvested into every new layer.

This is typical of SatOne. For him, to be abstract is not as simple as painting in an abstract way. He describes, “On top of that, it means to concretize a thing or theme and then disassemble it in such a way that the spectator is offered enough room to add his or her own experiences and beliefs to the image.” And we suppose he makes a beautiful point. Sometimes, art should be more challenging. It should make you cringe your brow and wonder what it means, and then allow yourself to recognize that the only meaning that matters is the one you invent.

Inside Rockenberg 2013

In recent years, the presence of inventiveness in Street Art has become a bit of a concern for SatOne. “I appreciate it when people working under the Street Art term are successful. But I ask myself: Why does one for example have to draw a female face time and time again? Why does it have to depict something that is already there? I do understand that there is a certain recognition effect when it comes to that kind of work and it appeals to a lot of people. But that’s out of the question for me.” Rather, he approaches his creativity with a more complex yet also impartial style of thinking that to us makes his work pleasantly puzzling.

“This interaction – the dialogue around the work – is what fascinates me most at the moment.”

“Something that I want out of life is to keep playing. People in general associate playing with being a child. I found out that while children are playing they are self-centered and become creators of their own worlds. I have this feeling when I start a new project – just like a child who starts exploring a new unknown toy. I get very bored when you cannot build a story around work anymore.”

Listening to him describe his process is nice. It is a very generous thing to share with someone your personal concepts. Nearing the end of dinner on his last night in Berlin, SatOne sits reclined in his seat, considering his thoughts and gently sharing with us his feelings that somewhere over the years since the nineties the solidarity that once came with Graffiti fell aside. “In the beginning, this spirit was very important to me. You just met with guys from your area and started to spray. Back then everything just felt complete. Over the years this kind of disappeared.”

“Something that I want out of life is to keep playing.”

Recently, this feeling flared up again with the Graffuturism show in London in 2012, which SatOne was a part of. Graffuturism, yet another abstract thing in SatOne’s life, is a movement which attempts to define a commonality between Graffiti artists who have shared similar histories. “This is where I met like-minded people again after a long time who went a similar way. Guys who got off the Graffiti bandwagon but who approached the whole thing with a similar mind-set anyway. One feels so at home again in a place where your art speaks a similar language and where you don’t have to account for anything. This is a place where there is no need to explain to anyone why four lines on a canvas can be enough. I found that liberating.”

This year, SatOne will take part in another group Graffuturism show in the US. All the while we will wait here patiently, eager for whatever visual story he is sure to create, fulfilled and happily perplexed with the piece of his art he left behind in Berlin with us.

Inside Rockenberg 2013

Get the art edition

SatOne "Berlin Harddisc"