Dieter Roth is widely regarded as one of the most important all-round artists of the 20th century. Today, his uncompromising appropriation of reality appears more pertinent than ever. Roth expanded the boundaries of art, in order to understand how he perceived the world and his own place in it. Rooted in the Swiss School of Concrete Art, he took visual poetry as his starting point and turned language into a key medium of the fine artist. In the 1960s, working with non-art materials and unorthodox printing techniques, he and artists such as Daniel Spoerri and Jean Tinguely ushered in a new approach to materials. Roth proceeded to address the notion of the gesamtkunstwerk in sprawling assemblages and ever larger installations, that scrutinised his everyday experience in a singularly unsparing manner.
Living a nomadic existence between homes in Iceland, Vienna, Stuttgart and Basel, Roth was at the centre of a tight network of like-minded people – artists, collectors, publishers, students and family members – who not only took a keen interest in his work but who also became part of the creative process through their active cooperation. The results of such cooperations as well as presents – often with dedications or tagged as ›souvenirs‹ – reached collectors such as Hanns Sohm from Markgröningen, whose important Roth collection entered the Staatsgalerie in 1981, as well as a number of artist colleagues such as Richard Hamilton, Emmett Williams, Bernhard Luginbühl or Martin Suter. The Staatsgalerie devoted two major exhibitions to the artist in 1979 and 2000. In Stuttgart, where Roth produced his most important books and where he had a flat from 1972 to 1983, the artist remains a forceful presence.
The two symposiums taking place in the Staatsgalerie and Kunstmuseum Stuttgart on 14–15 Nov 2009 will present lectures, readings, films and discussions with art scholars and former partners of the artist (publishers, printers, craftsmen and women, curators, conservators) to shed light on his process-oriented manner of working.
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