A toast on Dieter Roth!
On the occasion of Art Basel 2015, Hauser & Wirth has installed a fully-functional, specially-crafted bar, entitled ‘Roth Bar’, in the lobby of the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, Basel. ‘Roth Bar’ was designed by Björn, Oddur and Einar Roth, son and grandsons of German-born Swiss artist Dieter Roth (1930 – 1998), and is open for the duration of the fair.
Basel was a locale of great importance to Dieter Roth and his family, endowing a poetic significance to the installation of the ‘Roth Bar’ at the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois. In 1980, Roth moved into his principal studio at Hegenheimer Strasse in Basel. For the next two decades, Roth split his time between Iceland and Basel, until his death in Basel in 1998.
First conceived by Dieter Roth in the early 1980s, the concept of ‘the bar’ as a dynamic and changing installation is a continuing element in the Roths’ cross-generational practice. The bar embodies a central motif found throughout the Roths’ work. As a condition for him to exhibit with Hauser & Wirth, Dieter Roth insisted that a bar form part of his first show in 1998. Along with his son Björn, Dieter Roth installed the functional ‘Bar 2′ (1983 – 1997) around the corner from the gallery in Fabrikstrasse in Zurich. Every beer bottle served became a part of the bar installation and visitors’ conversations were recorded and archived. Nearly 20 years after this event, the ‘Roth Bar’, initiated by Björn, Oddur and Einar Roth, has inhabited a
gallery, a museum, and has now been installed for an art fair, bringing reality and art even closer together.
The iteration of the ‘Roth Bar’ at the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois has been transported from Zurich where it most recently formed part of the ‘Roth Bar & Studio’ exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Zürich. ‘Roth Bar’ (2004 – 2013) was first unveiled in the exhibition ‘Dieter Roth: Lest / Train’ at Reykjavik Art Museum in 2005, before continuing on to ‘Dieter Roth, Martin Kippenberger’ at Hauser & Wirth Coppermill in the following year. In 2013, it formed part of the exhibition ‘Dieter Roth Björn Roth. Islands’ at HangarBicocca in Milan, Italy. The bar has gradually evolved during this period, as for each exhibition site-specific materials have been incorporated into the installation.