Dieter Roth & Daniel Spoerri

After the tutor meeting last week, Jeff suggested some artists for me

Dieter Roth works with variable media:painting, sculpture, installation, assemblage… almost everything! For him, art and life flow readily into each other, his everyday experience is the artwork itself.

Work Tables & Tischmatten

From 1980s, Roth decided to place cardboard mats on working tables in his studios and apartments: doodles, sketches, phone numbers, ink blots start taking their own places on those mats, they eventually become the assemblage of progression of shifting arrangements through time. His son, Bjorn Roth worked with him during later years, Bjorn described his father’s studio work as:

“Everything was nevertheless handled precisely and with respect — whether it was leftover paper or oil paint, a paintbrush or a canvas. 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.”

I was fascinated by Roth’s approach of using tables as ‘diaries’ of his work progression, they are not kept in fine files with order, but being put at different working locations, thus you have no predictions for the output, progress, accidents, documentation form the work itself. I have similar intention behind my work: methods of preserving time and documenting experience which are instant but special.

Tischmatte, St. Johanns-Vorstadt (detail), 1995-2007

Matte vom Bürotisch Hegenheimerstrasse, Basel, 1996-1997

Bürotisch-Matte, Bali-Mosfellssveit, 1994-1996


Daniel Spoerri is famous for his snare pictures, which is a kind of assemblage art. He used found objects like left over meals, cutlery or cups and mounted them on the table, usually restoring the original position when they were found, they would be hung on wall, therefore creating an aerial view of the tables. Soperri didn’t composite or choose the objects randomly, they are from specific moments at particular location, which evokes artist’s own memories about them.

To me, the objects in his work are like the characters in fictions, they include elements like identification, time and location, which means they won’t exist at anywhere else as any other beings at another time, they have been fixed on the table, and they are there.

Portion of map of objects on table Topographie Anécdotée du Hasard



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