In 1989 Mirko Reisser sprayed his first works, still under the writing name of CAZA in those days, which he kept till the year of 1992. He already sprayed his first commissioned pieces in 1990. In 1991, right after his graduation from secondary school, he began to work as a freelance artist and named himself DAIM. In 1996 he started the fine arts programme at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland. In 1999 Mirko Reisser founded the studio collaboration getting-up in Hamburg together with the artists Gerrit Peters and Heiko Zahlmann. The artist collective has been realizing internationally noticed projects together for more than fifteen years. During his artistic career Mirko Reisser has already travelled to vast parts of the world and took part in a multitude of museum and gallery exhibitions. He also realized a lot of art projects, several of them as an initiator and co-organizer.
Mirko Reisser (DAIM) is represented by the gallery ReinkingProjekte in Hamburg (Germany) since 2005. Since 2010 he is also represented by the gallery MaxWeberSixFriedrich in Munich (Germany).
At the beginning of the 1990s DAIM developed his 3D-style: The artist attained publicity with his trademark of creating the four letters of his writing name in three-dimensional style. Outlines that are commonly used in Graffiti cannot be seen in this style. In fact by applying light and shadow effects the colours are placed in such a way that one gets the impression the letters are floating in the room and are tangible. DAIM had been making photorealistic drawings also before his career in graffiti and was influenced by artists like Salvador Dalí and Vincent van Gogh to not place outlines, but rather create forms with shadings and thus present them three dimensionally.
Reduction is initially the last word that one would attribute to the works of the artist. But relating to the choice of his motive this expression is definitely appropriate. Reisser depicts in his works the four letters of his writer's name – DAIM.
"DAIM lets his letters collapse, disrupt, be torn to tatters, yes downright despatter, as if their sight was only possible in a precious millisecond. Then again, it seems the other way round, as if the letter arrangement of hardly obvious, complex structures is in a condition of formation, shortly before being finished to add up to a whole. The programme of DAIM comprises both: the construction and the deconstruction of a word – somewhere in the pulse beat between erasure and remaining it emerges in a synaesthetic sphere, the WORD: It arises from nothing and threatens to vanish there again; but in the moment, in which it constitutes itself, it seems as if it would act independently, free and detached from the burden of content, that it actually should transport…"
The artist succeeds in constructing letters as architects construct form:
"By deconstructing typography and lettering, today's tech-savy writers such as JOKER, DELTA and DAIM are in an exciting position. They straddle the deconstructive world of Derrida, who questioned meaning, and that of architects like Lebbeus Woods, Thom Mayne and Zaha Hadid, who question form. The result is a hybrid "typogritecture", where letters are organized, reorganized, and sculpted in three-dimensional space without the surface constraints forced upon writers who rely on the city and street. This isn’t to say that writers are no longer dependent on traditional letterforms – they are. By revealing the elemental core of letter formation, artists obsessed with breaking them apart pay reverence to time-tested forms while simultaneously keeping them fresh and lively."
Reisser's works want to put the beholder under a spell and meanwhile, following the creative, dionysian body of thought, search for the transgression of limits. On the contrary the works are full of clarity, orderliness and structure. The transgression of limits that is reached through the works becomes a self-discovery and the works ultimately become self-portraits.
"My writings are self portraits"
Besides the classic spraycan DAIM starts taping his works with adhesive paper-tape since 2007, and he is doing sculptures, 3D-objects, works on paper, digital works and giclée fineart prints.
The artist sprayed his first piece together with Björn Warns – today wellknowed as Schiffmeister from the German Hip-Hop Group Fettes Brot – on a feeder pillar behind the yard of his parents’ house. DAIM, in those days still under his writer's name CAZA, sprayed his first, still illegal graffiti works during a time when after a few arrests in Hamburg a low-phase dominated the scene. Therefore, he knew only very few other writers at first and would absorb every trick he could pick up. Of course American influences played a role, especially because of a few trips to the US, but the artist's first book about graffiti was Graffiti Live – Die Züge gehören uns. With this the style of the artist was also very much influenced by European and German sprayers. He was fascinated by the styles of Loomit, Skena and Zebster that could be seen in an article about the fleemarket halls in Munich in the Stern-magazine. During the first two years of his career he first got to know Hesh and Loomit. Hesh became his partner for several years.
DAIM did his first wall paintings illegal, he got caught one time as a 17-year-old in Hamburg and later in New York City. In 1995 DAIM, Hesh and New Yorker Graffiti-Artist Per One got caught while spraying on a wall of the basketball court of elementary school 107 in the Bronx. The artists had to face charges for property damage, trespassing and possession of graffiti material. The possible sentence could vary from community service to one year in jail, reported the spokesperson of the prosecution, Charisse Campbell. They got released after the hearing though, because the authorization of the art teacher was requested in the run-up to spraying.
DAIM is cofounder of tcd (trash-can design), the first crew that the artist was a part of. One of the most renowned Crews that DAIM is a member of is the American FX Crew. In 1996 DAIM got invited to New York and accepted into the crew. Further Crews are: fbi (Fabulous Bomb Inability), suk (Stick-Up Kids), es (Evil Sons) and gbf (Gummibärchenfront).
In 2009 DAIM participated in ARTotale of the Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, where 36 international street artists were invited to the city. In 2006 he was one of the artists invited to the sculpture project sculpture@CityNord in Hamburg. Curator of this exhibition was also Rik Reinking. Furthermore, he realised projects with Opel (with Lena Meyer-Landrut) and Volvo (Volvo Art Session 2011 and 2013) He is also one of the initiators of the Urban Discipline exhibitions.
The Urban Discipline exhibitions, held from 2000 to 2002 in Hamburg, are among the most important graffiti exhibitions worldwide. In the year 2000 Mirko Reisser in cooperation with Gerrit Peters and Heiko Zahlmann planned and organized the first one of the exhibitions. In an interview Os Gêmeos, famous twin-brother graffiti artists from Brazil, called it a great project. Urban Discipline had been one of the first and still was one of the biggest graffiti exhibitions that had ever been arranged. It also had helped artist like Daniel Man and Banksy to take the next step in their career. In a time, where graffiti was not merely scribbling anymore but also not taken seriously yet, to those organizing the event it was important to establish it as an actual art form. Already for the first exhibition international stars of the graffiti scene came to Hamburg. The most important representatives of the international graffiti and street art scene also came to Hamburg for the next two years, in which the project was again organized by getting-up. In 2001 next to Os Gêmeos from Brazil, Martha Cooper from New York, artists from all over Germany as well as Brazil, Austria, France, America and Switzerland were exhibiting their works in the Alte Postsortierhalle in Hamburg. Again in 2002 34 international artists from all over the world came together to exhibit in the Astra-Hallen in St. Pauli.
"We’ve lead the discussion, if graffiti actually is art, very intensely at the latest in 2002 at the Urban Discipline exhibition. This was also a reason to organize this exhibition. We wanted to establish a forum and lead a discussion on the topic, how graffiti changes when canvas is used as a medium for it or when it is exhibited. In the end you can’t define this in general. But as a result it was pretty clear – and this has already been my opinion – that graffiti can’t be art automatically. […] Art has to be defined by something different than just by technique."
Two other well-known projects of the artist were developed in cooperation with the agency Jung von Matt/Next for tagged in motion and nextwall. For the project nextwall DAIM and other graffiti artists created a mural. Later interactive elements such as QR Codes and object recognition were inserted that allowed to transfer information to mobile devices. Tagged in motion meanwhile was an experiment to connect augmented reality and graffiti. With 3D- glasses it was possible for Mirko Reisser to spray his works into space and watch them three dimensionally. The video on YouTube achieved over 500.000 clicks within the first few days.
Two and a half years Mirko Reisser and Heiko Zahlmann worked in cooperation with Lothar Knode as artistic directors for the project Dock-Art. The graffiti that had a size of 2000 m² was revealed in 2001 vis-à-vis the Landungsbrücken in the Hamburg Harbour at the outside wall of shipyard's Blohm + Voss Dock 10.
In the context of Mural Global, a worldwide mural art project for Agenda 21, DAIM realized a 300 m² big mural in São Paulo together with Brazilian graffiti artists Os Gêmeos, Vitché, Herbert Baglione and Nina Pandolfo as well as the German graffiti artists Loomit, Codeak and Tasek in 2001. The mural is located under a viaduct of the Beneficência-Portuguesa-hospital on Avenida 23 de Maio and comprises the topics of air, earth, water and fire.
80 murals were created within the scope of the mural art project Mural Global. An initiative of Farbfieber e.V. Düsseldorf, under the patronage of the UNESCO. The project was awarded with the Innovationspreis Soziokultur 2002 of Fonds Soziokultur.
Mirko Reisser also acted as the artistic director for Sign of the times The work also got an entry into the Guinness book of world records for the highest graffiti of the world. Together with Darco, Loomit and others and under the organisational lead of Lothar Knode the graffiti with an overall wall-space of 300 m² was realised at a skyscraper in Hamburg-Lohbrügge in December 1995. The artists for the 30-meter high and 11-meter wide artwork used 1000 spray cans. Besides his height the work also impressed with its exciting composition of script and picture elements as well as citations from masterpieces of painting.
The artist is represented in the following art collections (selection):Collection Arsenale Novissimo, Venice, Italy.
Collection MuCEM , Marseille, France.
Collection ArtFonds21, Frankfurt, Germany.
Collection Reinking, Hamburg, Germany.
Collection Klingspor-Museum, Offenbach am Main, Germany.
2002: getting-up im FREIRAUM, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Germany.
2003: Young primitives, Groeningemuseum, Brügge, Belgium.
2005: Schon vergeben – Sammlung Reinking, Art Cologne, Köln, Germany.
2005: Passion of collecting, Collection Federkiel, Collection Reinking, Alte Baumwollspinnerei Halle 14, Leipzig, Germany.
2006: Minimal Illusions – Arbeiten mit der Collection Rik Reinking, Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany.
2007: ID, Kunstverein Buchholz, Buchholz, Germany.
2007: tapingDAIM, ReinkingProjekte, Hamburg, Germany.
2007: Walls – L’arte al Muro, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, Italy.
2007: Wakin Up Nights, de Pury & Luxembourg, Zurich, Switzerland.
2007: Still on and non the wiser, Von der Heydt-Museum, Kunsthalle Barmen, Wuppertal, Germany.
2007: Active Constellation, The Brno House of Art, Brno, Czech Republic.
2008: fresh air smells funny, Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche, Osnabrück.
2008: Call it what you like! Collection Rik Reinking, KunstCentret Silkeborg Bad, Denmark.
2009: Urban-Art – Werke aus der Sammlung Reinking, Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen, Germany.
2010: DAIM – coming out, Galerie MaxWeberSixFriedrich, Munic, Germany.
2011: Street Art – meanwhile in deepest east anglia, thunderbirds were go…, Von der Heydt-Museum, Kunsthalle Barmen, Wuppertal, Germany.
2012: Corner to Corner – Hinz&Kunzt StrassenKunztEdition, Kupferdiebe Galerie, Hamburg, Germany.
2013: Abstraction 21 | DAIM&LOKISS, Hélène Bailly Gallery, Paris, France.
2013: HANSEstreetartWORKS, MARTa Herford Museum, Herford, Germany.
2013: POESIA – Works from the Collection Reinking, Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst, Delmenhorst, Germany.
In 2001 DAIM travelled to a lot of countries worldwide in the scope of the graffiti world tour. Among those were Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Australia and the USA. But also before and after this extensive project he travels a lot, which leads to international recognition and his works leaving impressions on the local scenes:
Although the USA is most commonly known as the cradle of graffiti, American writers were also influenced by European tendencies. BG138 from Tats Crew confirmed in an interview that Europe was more advanced in some aspects, among those also being the 3D-style and a very cooperative working process – DAIM and Loomit shaped both. DAIM also realized works in Los Angeles and Miami among other cities in the USA. Crome, a writer from Miami commented on getting to know DAIM and Loomit and being impressed by how much planning was involved in their working process. In that way the graffiti could be finished at the location at a much faster pace. After the meeting Crome began to plan his works in advance, too. He also talked about his insights into proportions that he got from the Europeans. The writer Pest from Miami talks about DAIM and Loomit bringing the first Belton cans there, which changed the colour palette of the local writers. Freek used the (German) Belton cans only very economically and only as a crowning finale mixed with American colour, because he could never be sure when the next shipping was going to happen.
Also in Argentina DAIM's works would leave their marks: The Argentinian graffiti scene started to develop at the beginning of the 1990s. A big part of this development happened through the influence of travelling artists. Central figures were the Brazilian twin brothers Os Gêmeos, who are credited with bringing graffiti to Argentina during one of their stays in 1992. Furthermore, local writers from Argentina got influenced graffiti they saw on their journeys to Europe and brought back those impressions to their home country. In 2001 DAIM travelled to Buenos Aires. At this time there were a maximum of 20 acknowledged writers in the city, but with advanced access to the Internet and the launch of the first national graffiti homepage it was expected that this number would soon rise. But also in Europe the influence of the works can be seen, for example in Switzerland, where Mirko Reisser moved for his studies in 1996, and Greece.The report from 1993 Die Sprayer by the German broadcast station NDR accompanies DAIM together with other writers from Hamburg and examines graffiti as a phenomenon between vandalism and art.
A documentation about the FX-Crew. Directed by Philip Thorne. FX – The Video. Produced by Abstract Video Inc., Seaford, NY, USA, 1998, run time: 90 min., VHS.
The movie Urban Discipline – Graffiti-Art Documentation shows the works of and portrays graffiti artists from all over the world that Mirko Reisser together with getting-up invited in 2002 to Hamburg for the exhibition Urban Discipline. The final produced DVD has not been published yet.
The movie Bomb It is one of the most extensive and elaborate documentations of the graffiti movement. Old and very rare original material shows some of the most well-known and best graffiti artists in the world.
AlterEgo portrays 17 different graffiti artists in nine cities from seven different countries. The protagonists talk about topics including the motivation to use public space for their personal expression and their view on the role of graffiti in the art world.
The 90 minute long documentation still on and non the wiser that accompanies the exhibition with the same name in the Kunsthalle Barmen of the Von der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal draws vivid portrays of the artists by means of very personal interviews and also catches the creation process of the works before the exhibition was opened.
The movie Alltag von DAIM (engl.: In everyday life of DAIM) of Christian Brodack shows the everyday life of the artist and his work during the development of the first charitable StrassenKunztEdition that Mirko Reisser realized in cooperation with Hinz&Kunzt, Hamburgs Magazine for the aid of the homeless.