Dieter Roth Björn Roth, Islands
Dieter Roth – Björn Roth
at Pirelli in HangarBicocca
November 6 – February 9, 2014
Islands is the first anthological show in Italy devoted to Dieter Roth, one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, with the collaboration of his son Björn. This is the first in a series of exhibition projects curated by the artistic advisor Vicente Todolí.
For the first time in Italy, the event brings together over 50 works by Dieter Roth (Hanover, 1930 – Basel, 1998), a key figure on the international art scene of the past fifty years. The display is quite unique in the way that the imposing installations interact with the former industrial space of HangarBicocca. The public will be taken on a journey through thematic “islands” in the multidisciplinary creative universe of this brilliant artist, whose work has revolutionised the way art is made and seen.
Guðmundur Oddur Magnússon, our correspondent in Milan defined the situation in Hangar Bicocca so:
“On november 4th a pre-opening with more than 3000 guests took place in an enormous 4500 square meter industrial space with 18 meters to the ceiling filled with works of Dieter & Björn Roth along with his sons Einar and Oddur Roth and musician Davíð Þór Jónsson. The exhibition has a collection of installation islands, sculpture islands, paintings and prints, including the whole Picadilly series and the Surtsey Cake series, book-works, the Reykjavik slides series, and a fully functional 30 meters bar. There are not many artist that can fill a space like this. A team of 5 icelandic professional carpenters and blacksmiths have been assembling these pieces for more than six weeks.”
A tireless experimenter, Roth spent his life trying to stretch the limits of the expressive languages of art, going beyond the instruments at the artist’s disposal and using technology and research as essential accessories to his own creativity. For over a month and a half, the 4500 square-metre exhibition space has been home to a creative and productive workshop, with dozens of different professionals: carpenters, cooks, musicians, light and sound engineers and visual artists have been working together to create a constantly evolving exhibition, designed to ensure interaction between the works of yesterday and those of today, turning into images the idea of movement and openness to change that is an essential part of all innovation.
Economy Bar (2004-2013) is a bar open to the public and fully operational, with a long counter, some sinks and a beer tap, musical instruments and a module of the closed-circuit surveillance system, used until recently in the entrance to Pirelli, added to the version of the work made for HangarBicocca . This work greets the visitors at the entrance of the exhibition: capturing them in an uninterrupted flow of art production and daily life, which is the stylistic feature of all the work of Roth and his assistants. Among the most impressive works in the exhibition,
The Relatively New Sculpture was specially made for HangarBicocca by Björn Roth, together with his sons Einar and Oddur Roth and Davíð Þór Jónsson. It appears as a large walk-through installation that engages the viewer, divided into two square platforms connected by a passageway, on which, together with lights, old 1950s signs and desks, there are various musical instruments, salvaged shortly before being thrown away. At the heart of the work is the idea of being able to make music with broken instruments, which can be played by the viewers themselves, thus creating new sounds.
Roth’s artistic vision, which includes knowledge and action, experience and manual skills in performative works, is fully illustrated in the exhibition space as a workshop – a craftsman’s studio where the “Roth dynasty” has continued to hand down ways of creating art in the making.
“With so many references to Iceland it is interesting that the entrance to the Roth space and the only way to get in there is through Ragnar Kjartansson’s video installation The Visitors. The musician Davíð Þór plays a big part both in The Visitors as well as co-assembling a huge sound sculpture in the Roth section. This venue is rather new and not exactly in the center of the art world, located in an industrial zone in the outskirts of Milano, very impressive and a part of re-planning of the whole area.”
Via Chiese 2