Starting in the early 2000s, Valentin Hirsch (b. Eschwege, 1978; lives andworks in Berlin) worked dot for dot to construct his monstrously graceful inkdrawings and etchings, a technique he compared to a tattoo artist's. In 2010, he took the leap and switched from tracing paper to human skin. Drawinginto skin is an irreversible act. Hirsch's tattoos--he works exclusively in blackink--eschew all pretense, but their existence is also bound to a body and alife. The motifs in Hirsch's tattoos reflect this ambivalence of the medium: beasts and shockingly comely skulls seem locked in confrontation or sprawlinto one another; lines and abstract forms posit sharply edged boundariesthat are otherwise alien both to life and to skin as an artistic material. ValentinHirsch's first monographic book highlights the transition from drawing totattooingas an inevitable next step in his evolution as an artist. Essay byGunterDamisch, interview with the artist by Uta Grosenick.