Oct 12 – Nov 25, 2006
Carolina Nitsch is pleased to present Dieter Roth: Unique Editions
/ Graphics and Objects, as part of the two-gallery exhibition in New York highlighting the originality of Roth’s editions and books, which have, until recently, been known primarily through underground channels. The two-part exhibition on the German-born, Swiss artist, who lived from 1930 -1998, is organized by Carolina Nitsch Contemporary Art and Josée Bienvenu Gallery in collaboration with Matthew Zucker.
Roth’s editions of books, graphics and multiples exhibited here are one-of-a-kind works of art. Roth eschewed traditional artistic procedures, for example, by slicing up newspaper pages to make micro books, including The Daily Mirror Book (1961), a minuscule book made out of pages from the British tabloid, The Daily Mirror. The artist also regularly made use of non-art mediums such as chocolate, cheese, sausage, and banana, to create unique, fugitive works.
What distinguishes this exhibition is that at least two examples of each edition are shown together, demonstrating Roth’s exploration of difference within structures of sameness. The exhibition clearly demonstrates the variety of the artist’s editions, challenging commonly held ideas of what constitutes an edition.
Like Ed Ruscha, Dieter Roth is a pioneer of the modern artist’s book. His first and most unique books include children’s books and hand-cut slot books dating from the mid-1950s, several years before Ruscha published his first title in 1963. Roth’s books and editions constituted the works to which he was most passionately committed; they were also the ones on which his original reputation was built in Europe during the late1960s and early 1970s; his first major museum shows were all retrospectives of books and editions.
As Garry Garrels, Curator of Roth’s 2004 exhibition at MoMA writes, “Roth’s work developed over a fifty-year period with both a diversity and a logical coherence that establish him as one of the most singular and important artists of the second half of the century. Roth shifted from a foundation in classic modernism into the arena of contemporary art, or what has been sometimes called “post-modernism”. Testing fundamental issues of authorship and the notion of the self is fused with equally essential questions of the character and nature of art, the materials from which art may be made, as well as the hierarchies and distinctions between media.”
Dieter Roth created the majority of the works in the exhibition in his own studio, seizing control of most aspects of the creative and publishing process. With this hands-on, do-it-yourself approach, Roth created unique books, prints, and editions challenging conventional genres; having influenced many artists over the last four decades, from Richard Hamilton to more recently Martin Kippenberger, Jason Rhoades and others, these works are arguably among his most significant contributions to art history.
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