dinsdag, januari 10, 2017

Dieter Roth #5

Dieter Roth (and Björn Roth): Work Tables and Tischmatten.

Dieter Roth, Björn Roth: Work Tables and Tischmatten,
a representative selection of the large gray sheets of cardboard the artist used to cover the work surfaces of his various studios and living quarters in Iceland and Switzerland in the 1970s.

These table mats (Tischmatten in German), which Roth produced until his death in 1998, became cumulative diaries of his innovative, inspired, chaotic and ultimately lucid process, an approach that favored collaboration and the seamless melding of art and life. With his son Björn, who joined his father in daily artmaking at age 15, Dieter fearlessly recorded a world of creation and wayward ideas through these working documents-cum-paintings.
Roth’s Tischmatten were designed to capture the build-up of scraps, stains, notes, and bits of material that came from his ‘departments of cooking and eating and painting and pasting,’ so that work surfaces would remain clean. The cardboard meant to protect the tables supported canvases as well as the dirt and notes on painting that automatically accumulated. However, these used boards gradually became essential works in their own right for Roth and his son Björn. In form, the Tischmatten resemble Roth’s famous diaries; there is a juxtaposition of text and images, including tacked-on Polaroids, handwritten notes, telephone numbers, traces of adhesive and food. As in the diaries and the reels of film that Roth made in his later years (which for the most part picture writing, reading and eating at these very same tables), there are pieces of everyday experience, the professional and physical quotidian. Thus the Tischmatten are virtually objectivized diaries, carefully edited and structured by the artist.
His son Björn recalls: ‘In the last two decades of Dieter’s life, I worked closely with him on art. The studio was at once a workplace and an apartment. There, things flowed together or became isolated. It was a kind of laboratory to search for beauty in nothing, and a workshop for assembling findings. Our studios were like safehouses. We could always find shelter there from various kinds of intrusion. In Mosfellsbær, Seydisfjördur, Hamburg, Basel, Unterterzen and Vienna. Different places and different ambiences, but with one common element: the work tables and Tischmatten.’" (bron: Contemporary Art Daily)

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