Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin
In interaction with works from George Brecht, Rodney Graham, Annika Kahrs, Ragnar Kjartansson & Alterazioni Video, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Markus Sixay, Die Tödliche Doris and records from the Archiv Broken Music
German-born Swiss artist Dieter Roth (1930-1998) worked in such widely varied media as drawing, painting, assemblage, installation, printmaking, artist's books, literature, action and film. Since 2008 one his most important works, the monumental Garden Sculpture (1968ff.), has been on display at the Nationalgalerie as a gift of the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection. Little known to date are Roth's numerous music-related projects, which are now being presented comprehensively for the first time.
Music played a major role for Dieter Roth all his life and finds its way into his oeuvre in a variety of ways. He integrated musical instruments into his assemblages as mute reliefs alongside cassette players and other audio devices, for example, and uses them as motifs in his paintings and works on paper. Roth also performed on stage as a musician, playing alone or as a member of the artist's collective in the series "Selten gehörte Musik" (Rarely Heard Music). As a keen listener to musical styles of all kinds, he owned an extensive vinyl collection and had his own recording studio. His favourite music was classical and he loved Schubert, Brahms und Schönberg in particular.
Among Roth's direct connections with Berlin are the "Berliner Dichterworkshops", multi-day artist workshops in which he took part in the 1970s, and several concerts in the "Selten gehörte Musik" series, recorded with friends including Günter Brus, Hermann Nitsch, Arnulf Rainer, Gerhard Rühm and Oswald Wiener. Roth also made music at home with his Viennese artist friends as well as with his children, and the artistic principle of "failure" established in these impromptu sessions led to astonishing musical results. In the exhibition, music proves to be an important dimension of Roth's multiverse.
At Hamburger Bahnhof, the focus upon music in the oeuvre of Dieter Roth is broadened to include selected works by artists who demonstrate parallels with Roth in terms of the issues they address and their approaches to musical tradition. These works testify to the enduring interest in music felt by fine artists right up to the present.
An exhibition by Kunsthaus Zug in collaboration with the Nationalgalerie - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Hochschule für Musik / Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, the Musik-Akademie Basel and Edizioni Periferia, Lucerne
Curator of the exhibition Dieter Roth and Music: Matthias Haldemann
Curator at Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin: Gabriele Knapstein
The exhibition is supported by Pro Helvetia - Swiss Arts Council
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