Hauser & Wirth Presents Dieter Roth Björn Roth, January 23
The exhibition will also present three major series of prints that spotlight Dieter Roth's stunning mastery over and subversion of the printmaking process, drawing in fugitive materials whose ongoing deterioration gorgeously alter the final work over time.
'Dieter Roth. Björn Roth' revisits a major project shown previously in New York in 2004 at P.S. 1: 'Solo Szenen (Solo Scenes)', created by Dieter Roth in his final year (1997 - 1998), is the artist's attempt at illustrating life as the accumulation of vast quantities of fragments of data. For this work, which has been described as 'a Rembrandt self-portrait re-imagined as a video diary', the ailing Roth traced his own trajectory through days and places by setting up cameras in his studios in Germany, Switzerland and Iceland, and filming himself going about daily activities that ranged from sketching and filing, to watering plants, slumbering, and reading on the toilet. While the resulting 128 videotapes of 'Solo Scenes' comprise a powerful elegiac finale to Dieter Roth's mortal run, the humility and simplicity of their content imbues the total work with a sense of time suspended.
Perhaps most significantly, 'Dieter Roth. Björn Roth' extends the performative impulse at the heart of the Roth oeuvre into the present moment, illustrating Dieter Roth's fundamental principle that art both defines and lies beyond the limits of time: Working on site for a month before and through the opening of the exhibition, Björn Roth, assisted by his sons Oddur and Einar, will construct the latest iterations of several pivotal installations originally conceived by Roth père as never-ending projects - masterpieces ceaselessly in the making. For 'Shokoladeturm (Chocolate Tower)' and 'Zuckerturm (Sugar Tower)', the Roths will build at Hauser & Wirth their own version of the original Dieter Roth sugar kitchen, that resides at the Dieter Roth Foundation's Schimmelmuseum in Germany. With their new kitchen, the trio will cast chocolate and sugar elements - the four basic mold forms are the 'Selbstportrait (Self-portait)', the 'Löwenselbst (Lion-self)', the 'Sphinx', and the 'Portraitbüste mit Löwenkopf (Self-portrait with lion head)' - and stack them into evolving structures. The Roths' first Sugar Tower collapsed in 1994; in the year preceding his death, Dieter Roth advised Björn to rebuild it in the future using the broken busts of the old tower.
Continuing another longstanding and on-going project of the Roths' cross-generational practice, Björn and Oddur Roth will also create 'Roth New York Bar', a fully functioning, site-specific liquor and coffee bar for the exhibition. This bar will remain permanently at the new Hauser & Wirth space at 18th Street.