Dieter Roth & Björn Roth
New York, 548 West 22nd Street
Dieter Roth is remembered as one of the most multifaceted and distinct artists of the 20th century thanks to his unique ability to blur the line between art and everyday reality. The late artist’s interest in blending his mundane objects into his rendering of artistic expression delivered some of the most unconventional, yet influential bodies of work in European modern art. Among his most exquisite works are his installations that merge creative drive with monotony of living. Hauser & Wirth’s current exhibition Books introduces an ambitious installation that reenacts the studio Roth shared with his son Björn in Basel.
While books the artist made or collected constitute an important part of the installation, papers, furniture, art making tools, and other personal objects portray father and son’s enduring artistic dialogue. The impact of intellectual thinking for art making finds its representation in books which Roth returned to throughout his career until his passing in 1998. The exhibition also introduces a series of paintings Björn Roth created under the impression of photographic documentations of the studio.
“The extent of Roth’s enduring commitment to anti-aesthetic playfulness must be seen as an ethos. Drawing since the age of 14, Roth (1930–98) was from the outset less interested in form than curious to explore ideas in whatever medium was at hand. Though drawing would remain instrumental for him, no medium was off-limits, as witnessed by his assemblages of keyboards and scraped wood issuing sounds of its scraping,” explains Marjorie Welish in her 2004 BOMB Magazine piece about Roth’s commitment for unorthodox interpretation of aesthetics.
The exhibition runs through July 29th.