Roth Time: A Dieter Roth Retrospective
Essays by Dirk Dobke, Theodora Vischer and Bernadette Walter.
Sculptor, poet, diarist, graphic designer, pioneer artist's book maker, performer, publisher, musician, and, most of all, provocateur, Dieter Roth has long been beloved as an artist's artist. Known for his mistrust of all art institutions and commercial galleries--he once referred to museums as funeral homes--he was also known for his generosity to friends, his collaborative spirit, and for including his family in his art making. Much to the frustration of any gallery that tried to exhibit his work (supposedly none more than once), Roth thumbed his nose at those who valued high purpose and permanence in art. Constantly trying to undo his art education, he would set up systems that discouraged the conventional and the consistent: he drew with both hands at once, preserved the discarded, and reveled in the transitory. Grease stains, mold formations, insect borings, and rotting foodstuffs were just some of the materials used, both out of a fascination with their painterly, textural aspects and for their innate ability to make time visible and play to chance. “More is better,” he once said, and more there always was. Roth never stopped working, and he believed that everything could be art, from his sketch pad to the table he sat at, the telephone he talked on, or his friend's kitchen (the kitchen was later sold to a museum). Roth Time: A Dieter Roth Retrospective is published to mark the first major survey exhibition of the artist's work since his death in 1998. Five decades of drawings, graphics, books, paintings, objects, installations, films and video works are represented. The publication offers a window into Roth's creative world, reflecting him and his era. The exhibition is organized by the Schaulager with The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne.