C R E N
M i c h e l P i e t s c h
Contemporary Urban Art
Michel «Cren» Pietsch, born in April 1970, grew up as the son of a Frenchwoman and a German in Lehrte near Hannover. In his childhood and youth, he visited the French part of his family with his parents on a regular basis. So not only his family’s roots are in the French Departement du Nord and in Lower Saxony in Northern Germany, but also his artistic beginnings.
On the train rides to France in the early eighties Cren encountered the hip-hop culture for the first time when he discovered the emerging graffitis along the railway track. Fascinated by the graffitis, he began to design his own letterings shortly afterwards – in the beginning with pens on paper. In 1989, he used a spray can for the first time. Since then, he has painted walls with his letterings in more than 14 countries and on three continents. In his 25-year career, he incorporates the impressions from his various journeys and from the exchange with numerous artists in the development of his calligraphic compositions on various image carriers.
Lettering is Cren’s great passion. It is the origin and until now the basis of his artistic work. He understands lettering as a central pillar of communication and as an essential everyday information carrier. However, in daily life letters are often perceived superficially and purely functional.
The intention of his work is to inspire the observer to a thoughtful scrutiny of letterings. Cren breaks the common rules of typography by breaking down the lettering in single letters. Then, he modifies and structures them according to his individual rules in order to re-construct them in an aesthetic cumulation of the single letters as a new composition.
In the following spontaneous artistic process, Cren completes the letters as basis of the work through combining them with graphic, expressionistic or concrete elements, resulting in the final arrangement. By merging different components – and the resulting extension of the lettering – his letters appear as abstract elements at first sight and not directly as letters. For the untrained eye, the lettering does not appear as part of the composition. Cren’s works invite the observer to question the first impression and to delve into it more intensively in order to let the letters become present and tangible.
Today, Cren lives in Berlin and currently works in a studio in the former GDR broadcasting centre in Berlin-Köpenick. The atmosphere of the historical building and the various cultural impressions evoked by the neighbouring art studios, sound studios, concert halls as well as film sets accompany Cren in his artistic work.