Dieter Roth Diaries

Dieter Roth Diaries


Dieter Roth (1930–1998), Notebook, 1967 (detail). Hardcover leatherbound diary with drawings, coloured sketches, collages. 17.5 x 11 x 3 cm ( 6 7/8 x 4 3/8 x 1 1/8 inches). © Dieter Roth Estate.

July 20, 2012

Dieter Roth Diaries
2 August–14 October 2012

The Fruitmarket Gallery
45 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF
Open seven days. Always free.
Hours: Mon–Sat 11–6pm, Sun 12–5pm

Extended Edinburgh Art Festival hours:
2–26 August 10–7pm, 7 days

The Fruitmarket Gallery is proud to present this exhibition of the work of Dieter Roth (1930–1998), one of late-twentieth-century art’s major figures. Roth was an artist of astonishing breadth and diversity, producing books, graphics, drawings, paintings, sculptures, assemblages, and installation works involving video, sounds, and recordings. 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 Roth’s 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 Roth’s 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, and two major installation works.

Many of Roth’s 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 Roth’s life on 128 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 Demarco’s 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 artist’s 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 Roth’s diaries for the first time, alongside images of installation works which relate closely to the theme of the diary.

‘An awfully dreadfully fearful drain he fell down into, wriggling there, at the bottom, in his wet pants’*: Dieter Roth and Art History
Thursday 4 October, 6–8pm

Art historians Deborah Lewer (University of Glasgow), Luke Skrebowski (University of Cambridge), John-Paul Stonard (Courtauld Institute of Art, London), curator Daniel Herrmann (Whitechapel Gallery, London), and writer Sarah Lowndes (Glasgow School of Art) examine Roth’s place in relation to art making in the twentieth century and his legacy for artists now.
*The title of the seminar is extracted from an ‘autobiography’ that Dieter Roth included in the book he made with Richard Hamilton, COLLABORATIONS OF CH. ROTHAM in 1977.

Booking is recommended.
To book your place call T 0131 226 8181 or email

RSVP for Dieter Roth Diaries
July 20, 2012

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