EDINBURGH.- The Fruitmarket Gallery
presents this exhibition of the work of Dieter Roth (1930 1998), one of late twentieth century arts major figures. Roth was an artist of astonishing breadth and diversity, producing books, graphics, drawings, paintings, sculptures, assemblages and installation works involving sounds recordings and video. He was also a composer, musician, poet and writer. Art and life for Roth flowed readily into each other, and much of the material for his artistic output came from his everyday life.
This exhibition is the first to focus on the theme of the diary in Roths work. Roth kept a diary throughout his life, and saw all art-making as a form of diary keeping. His diaries were a space to record appointments, addresses, lists and deadlines but also ideas, drawings, photographs and poems. They teem with graphic exuberance, and proved a rich source for his work. The Fruitmarket Gallery is fortunate in being able to show Roths diaries to the public for the first time, as well as the hand-produced, photocopied copybooks he made from them to sell to favoured collectors and friends.
Many of Roths major works can be understood as kinds of diaries. In the mid 1970s, he attempted to record a year of his life through rubbish, collecting and preserving all rubbish less than one or two sixteenths of an inch thick. The resulting work, Flat Waste, celebrates and subverts the ordering principle of the diary. Solo Scenes, a vast video diary, records the last year of Roths life on 135 video monitors.
Although Roth died in 1998, his work remains of interest to artists and audiences alike. He has a particular connection to Edinburgh, having been part of Richard Demarcos exhibition Strategy Get Arts at the 1970 International Festival. This will be the first time his work has been seen in Scotland since.
The Fruitmarket Gallery has produced a major new publication to accompany the exhibition. The book includes essays by Fiona Bradley; artist Andrea Büttner; and writer and curator Sarah Lowndes. It also includes new texts by Björn Roth, the artists son and long-time collaborator and Jan Voss, who worked with Roth on his book projects, as well as a selection of interviews with Roth, translated into English for this publication. The book also reproduces pages of Roths diaries for the first time, alongside images of installation works by Roth which relate closely to the theme of the diary.
Dieter Roth (April 21, 1930 June 5, 1998) was an Icelandic artist of Swiss German origin. He represented Switzerland at the 1982 Venice Biennale, and received a number of awards and prizes, including the Genevan Prix Caran dAche Beaux Arts in 1991. His work has been, and still is, is hugely influential.