Experiment | Tape Art

It started with several colorful mask tapes. I didn’t know what exactly I could do with them, I just wanted to try different materials to make dolls.

First, I made 2 dolls with these colorful mask tapes.

Then, another accident happened, I wrote some words on the walls of my space, and tutors asked me to cover it. But I’m not the person who you tell me to cover then I cover, I need to think how to cover and giving it new meanings by doing so.

Then I saw my classmates having the red warning tape, which reminded me of the forbidden sign.

If I cover the words and use the red warning tape to frame it like a sign of “NO”, that would be an ironic metaphor. So I did this:


I was very happy to see the effect, it looked great on the wall, then I forgot it, forgot the anger and what I have written or did. At that moment I didn’t know how people would feel after seeing it.

Until joining the group critic, tutor Lee and some classmates mentioned that they didn’t want to walk into the space because they felt anger inside, the emotion was too strong for them. I was very confused because the anger happened last week, why people still had the feeling in this space?   Then someone mentioned the forbidden sign made by red tape was a sign shouting “NO ENTER” to them.

Hearing this, I got super excited, I didn’t realize that these warning tapes could have such strong power to influence people’s emotion.

Then during the tutorial with Isabel, she didn’t mention the issue again but focused on my work itself( thanks for that, I hate people who kept talking about the issue with the Korean woman, that’s not the point at all ! Why they don’t focus on the work ?)   She said she liked the warning tape I used on the wall, which brought a strong emotional expression to my artworks, perhaps I could use more tapes in this space.

So I used red warning tape, yellow warning tape, and fragile tape to do experiments.

First, I used the warning tape to wrap the yellow chair and bind the gild doll on the chair, like this little girl lost her freedom.

Yihe was the first model I shoot photos. He sat on the chair, then I used warning tape to keep him on the chair. The yellow warning tape matched well with his jacket.

Then I used the red warning tape to wrap him standing there to the effect.

I also tried strings to tie his hands.

Then I use the same warning tape to keep Christine to the wall to take photos. I also made the property with warning tapes, and she asked me to use the tape to cover her mouth to achieve special effects.


Shoes of Christina and Yihe:

What’s more, I used the fragile tape to make a heart for her to play with.

It’s my first time to see it, I like the simple word Fragile repeating on the tape, and the simple color white and red. Immediately in my mind floating the image of a fragile heart being protected by warning signs.

Fragile inside, Warning outside.

That’s why I made a fragile heart first.

To play more with Fragile, I had Danyan to be my model. I used the fragile tape to wrap all her body. Then she lied down on the ground for me to take photos.

Details of Fragile tape on her body:

I found myself really like taking photos for feet and hands were bound.  Both of them mean freedom to me, feet take you where you want to go, while hands makes you do what you want to do.

I also enjoy taking people with tapes covering their mouth, a symbol of losing speech freedom.

After these experiments, I searched artworks with tape and found the Tape Art Movement. And read the book Tape: an excursion through the world of adhesive tapes by Kerstin Finger, in 2005, and got some nice inspirations. 

  • Footable Tape by Marti Guixe: the artsit used the footbale tape to wrap a football, that’s it. I was like “WTF? Look at my Fragile Tape Heat! ” Well, perhaps I need to take better photos for my fragile heart? 


  • Tape Paintings on cardboard by Valery Koshlyakov. 
  • Reality Hacking No.071 & NO.333 by Peter Regli. I like how the artist interacted with existing public situations. The artist named all the artworks in numbers by order, and most of them are in outdoors.
  • In Abstract spaces by Jim Lambie.

He used colored adhesive vinyl tape that follows the contours of the rooms. They transform and energize the space by echoing the architectural features of the room and also creating a vortex. His work provokes categorization and creates a debate about what they are: sculpture, architecture, or paintings. Therefore they are installations in that they exist only as long as they are installed in these spaces. 

Sculptures by adhesive vinyl tape by Jim Lambie


Eye collage on board, with foil, vinyl tape, and paper

In the article “Tape Art, the Symbol of autonomy  “, the writer mentioned that Adhesive tape was originally developed by the US army and was soon being used for all sorts of repair work. And by the early 1950s, nearly every American household owned a roll of adhesive tape. A situation which later made its way across the Atlantic. The first artist use of adhesive tape, until then used as a practical item, occurred in the explosion of styles during the postmodern period.

Robert Watts, explore the optical effect of adhesive tape alongside aluminum foil for his basic material analytical research in the 1950s. 

The Fluxus artist Diter Rot who de the objective triviality of various materials his artwork,

and ultimately Joseph Beuys.

The imagination of adhesive tape knows no boundaries, it reaches from bondage, amateurish patchwork and tape as subversive self-help instrument up to the obvious presumption that it is simply used for repair work.

Other artists work with tape:

  • Nic Hess 
  • Beat Zoderer
  • Mauricio Cattelan
  •  Darel Carey

More tape art works: https://reliablesource.co.uk/tape-art/


I’m more interested in tape installations made by Jim Lambie,  Darel Carey and Mauricio Cattelan. Will research more about them.


Royal College of Art, London


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