October 21, 2013 - HangarBicocca - Dieter Roth and Björn Roth
October 21, 2013

Dieter Roth and Björn Roth

Dieter Roth, SURTSEY, 1973–74. 18 prints in cassette; collotype printing (1–8 colours) on white paper on cardboard, 50 x 65 cm / 19 5/8 x 25 5/8 inches each, edition of 70. Courtesy Dieter Roth Foundation, Hamburg and Hauser & Wirth. © Dieter Roth Estate.

Dieter Roth and Björn Roth
6 November 2013–9 February 2014

Opening: 5 November, 7pm

Via Chiese 2
Hours: Thursday–Sunday 11am–11pm
Free admission

T +39 02 6611 1573
info [​at​] hangarbicocca.org


Curated by Vicente Todolí

For the first time in Italy, Islands brings together over 50 works by Dieter Roth (1930, Hannover–1998, Basel), a key figure on the international art scene of the past fifty years. The exhibition is being put on with the collaboration of his son Björn.

The imposing installations are given the unique opportunity to interact with the former industrial space of HangarBicocca, the contemporary art space in Milan promoted by Pirelli. The public will be taken on a journey through thematic “islands” in the multidisciplinary creative universe of the artist, whose work has revolutionized the way art is made and seen.

Roth Bar is open to the public and fully operational, and it greets the visitors and captures them in an uninterrupted flow of art production and daily life—a stylistic feature of all the work by Roth and his assistants. This aspect runs through all the works in the exhibition, such as The Floor I (1973–1992) and The Floor II (1977–1998), both of which consist of floors from the artist’s studio in Iceland. Here they are taken out of context and transformed into abstract images. New York Kitchen (2013) is a real kitchen, which has also been used by Dieter Roth’s staff to prepare some of the works on show. Two towers made of little self-portrait and zoomorphic sculptures titled Zuckerturm (Sugar Tower) (1994–2013) and Selbstturm (Self Tower) (1994–2013) will be on display.

Dieter Roth’s artistic vision, which includes knowledge and action, experience and manual skills in performative works, will be fully illustrated at HangarBicocca. Works on show resulting from the cooperation between the artist and his son Björn, who worked with his father for over thirty years, and together with the artist’s grandchildren Oddur and Einar, include Material Pictures, assemblages of abstract painting and superimpositions of materials such as clothes, fabrics and instruments, and Grosse Tischruine (Large Table Ruin). Begun in 1978 as an organism in perennial transformation, this work started out from a pile of objects on Dieter Roth’s own workbench, rearranged in different ways for each exhibition.

Real-life experience and art intertwine and blend together also in the large Solo Scenes installation (1997–1998), one of the artist’s best-known works. One hundred and thirty-one monitors show everyday and intimate scenes of the artist, creating an open, real-time diary of the last years of his life. The over 60 Piccadillies prints, here shown together for the first time, constitute one of the artist’s most original and interesting projects. Created between 1969 and 1974, they became a stunning example of Dieter Roth’s passion for prints and graphic art, which played a key role in his work. They are also a reflection on the concept of the original and of reproducibility in works of art.

The project has also been designed to relate to The Visitors, the installation by Ragnar Kjartansson (b. 1976, Reykjavík), which will remain on show until November 17. “Kjartansson has a strong biographical tie with Dieter Roth and his family,” explains HangarBicocca’s curator Andrea Lissoni. “His grandfather was one of Dieter Roth’s closest friends and he had a collection of his works. This legacy had an influence on Kjartansson’s multidisciplinary, ever-evolving approach to making art.”

The exhibition Islands has been made possible thanks to the support of Novi, Italy’s leading company in the chocolate sector. Dieter Roth’s works Selbstturm (Self Tower) (1994–2013) and Coquille Gnomes (1994–2013) have been made directly on-site, in the exhibition space, by Björn Roth and his assistants, selecting and shaping an immense supply of top-quality, extra fine chocolate from Novi.

Dieter Roth and Björn Roth at HangarBicocca
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