Dieter Roth Catalogue
Dieter Roth
Biography
1930
Born as Karl-Dietrich Roth on April 21, in Hanover as one of three sons of a German mother and a Swiss father working as a merchant.
1935
Attends primary school in Hanover-Döhren.
1940
Attends secondary school in Hanover.
1943
Roth is accommodated with foster parents in Zurich. At the hotel run by the family Fritz Wyss, where Roth will remain for three years, Jewish and communist artists and actors also reside during the war. In this environment Roth begins to write poetry and to create his first drawings, pastels, and watercolours.
1946
Roth’s parents move to Switzerland and the whole family takes up residence in Herisau. Roth attends secondary school in St Gallen. He produces his first etching on tin sheet metal and his first oil paintings.
1947
Roth drops out of school and starts an apprenticeship as a graphic designer with Friedrich Wüthrich in Bern (until 1951).
1949
Gerlafingen. Roth suffers a nervous breakdown and attempts suicide.
1950
Roth’s first attempt to refuse military service fails.
1952
He produces the unique print Ex libris Franz. He is exempted from military service for health reasons and dismissed from the army.
1953
Bern. Roth continues to earn his living with odd jobs and decorations.
1955
Moves to Copenhagen where he is employed at the firm Unika-Vaev to design textiles.
1957
Reykjavík. Roth moves to Rekjavík to take up residence with Sigri∂ur Björnsdóttir, an Icelandic student he had met while working for Unika-Vaev; they get married.
Roth’s son Karl is born.
1958
Roth travels to Philadelphia to present himself as a teacher at the School of Arts. The plan, however, does not succeed.
1959
New York. At Yale University Roth holds a four-day lectureship as Visiting Critic and meets Josef Albers.
1961
Reykjavík. Birth of Roth’s second son Björn.
1963
Reykjavík. Birth of Roth’s daughter Vera.
1964
Separation from Sigri∂ur Björnsdottir.
1965
Providence. For a year Roth teaches the graphic arts class at Rhode Island School of Design.
1966
In the summer Roth’s studio in Providence is cleared due to rent arrears. Excepting an assemblage on cardboard, all of his works are destroyed.
1967
Returns to Reykjavík.
1968
London. Roth teaches at Watfort School of Art as a replacement for Hansjörg Mayer.
May: Düsseldorf. Roth teaches at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf (until 1971).
1971
Projects in Reykjavík, London, Düsseldorf, Braunschweig, Berlin, Lucerne.
1972
Projects in Berlin, Braunschweig, Düsseldorf, London, Reykjavík, Stuttgart, Vienna, Zurich.
1973
Projects in Berlin, Düsseldorf, London, Reykjavík, Stuttgart, Zug.
1974
Projects in Berlin, Braunschweig, Hamburg, Hellnar, Lucerne, Munich, Reykjavík, Stuttgart, Watford, Vienna, Zurich, Zug.
1975
Projects in Berlin, Braunschweig, Diessen, Hamburg, Hellnar, Karlsruhe, London, Lucerne, Mosfellssveit, Prinzendorf, Stuttgart, Vornbach, Watford, Vienna, Zurich, Zug. Increasingly Vera and Björn Roth participate in the works of their father.
1976
Projects in Akureyri, Barcelona, Braunschweig, Cadaqués, Diessen, Hamburg, Hellnar, London, Mosfellssveit, Stuttgart,Vornbach, Watford, Vienna, Zug.
1977
Projects in Barcelona, Basel, Cadaqués, Chicago, Hamburg, Hellnar, London, Madrid, Mosfellssveit, Prinzendorf, Reykjavík, Stuttgart, Vienna, Zug.
1978
Projects in Basel, Chicago, Hamburg, London, Mosfellssveit, Munich, New York, Prinzendorf, Reykjavík, St Gallen, Stuttgart, Ulm, Vienna, Zug.
1979
Projects in Bielefeld, Braunschweig, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Copenhagen, London, Mosfellssveit, Munich, Prinzendorf, Reykjavík, Vienna, Zurich, Stuttgart.
Roth teaches at the Art Academy in Munich (“alcoholic miniatures”) and, on invitation of Magnús Pálsson, at the Art School of Reykjavík. Already after ten days, however, he has to give up his teaching post.
1980
Projects in Reykjavík, Mosfellssveit, Lucerne, Basel, Stuttgart.
In the following two decades Roth pre-eminently travels back and forth between Iceland and Switzerland.
1982
Projects in Mosfellsveit, Paris, Mols, Venice, Stuttgart, Basel.
Spring: Roth temporarily gives up his flat in Stuttgart and moves to Mols, Germany.
1983
Projects in Iceland, Berlin, Mols, Basel, Stuttgart.
1984
Projects in Mosvellsveit, Basel, Mols, Vienna, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Berlin.
1986
Projects in Iceland, Basel.
Roth’s appearance on TV in January in the Swiss talk show Ziischtigs-Club dealing with the topic “Eat or Diet: a Conflict after the Holidays” triggers indignant reactions among the viewers.
1987
Projects in Iceland, Basel, Frankfurt.
1988
Projects in Iceland, Basel, Stuttgart.
1989
Projects in Iceland, Basel, Hamburg.
Roth is tormented by states of panic and depression. He himself describes keeping diaries as a form of therapy.
1991
Projects in Iceland, Basel, Hamburg.
At the beginning of the 1990s he establishes the Dieter Roth Foundation together with his Hamburg patron Philipp R. Buse. In Buse’s residence, in which the artist maintains a studio, apart from the largest Roth collection to date, extensive archives of his works are assembled, also containing material of his friends and former collaborators.
1992
Projects in Reykjavík, Mosfellsbaer, Paris, Basle, Holderbank, Sey∂isfjör∂ur, Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna.
Roth remains in Iceland most of the time.
1994
Projects in Iceland, Basel, Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna.
Roth gives up his flat in the Tuchlauben in Vienna.
1995
Projects in Reykjavík, Basel, Vienna, Zurich, Stuttgart.
1997
Projects in Mosfellsbaer, Sey∂isfjör∂ur, Basel, Marseille.
Roth has health problems.
1998
Projects in Iceland, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Zurich, Basel.
January: Roth appoints Dirk Dobke as curator for the Dieter Roth Foundation in Hamburg. Through this arrangement the collection and the Schimmelmuseum are to be made accessible to the public. Together they begin to systematize the archives of the works, which have been accumulating over the years.
On June 5 Dieter Roth dies in his studio on Hegenheimer Strasse in Basel from heart failure.
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