Mixed Media, Dieter Roth & Karin Sander, Safn, Berlin
2016 09 18 – 2017 01 28
The last exhibition in the Safn Berlin art space, which this time extends over two floors, presents two artists who have close ties with the collection. Both Karin Sander and Dieter Roth spent a lot of time in Iceland, leaving their mark on the country’s artistic landscape through co-operations with Icelandic artists and curators, through their commitment to Iceland’s Academy of the Arts, and not least through their friendship, extending over many years, with Pétur Arason and Ragna Róbertsdóttir.
Karin Sander (born in 1957) came to Iceland for the first time at the invitation of Pétur Arason and Ingólfur Arnarsson, since when she has exhibited in a number of the country’s institutions and project spaces. Karin Sander works in a range of media and materials, spaces and situations, each of which provides a starting point for her artistic deliberations. Sometimes her interventions are on a large scale, architectural in dimension. Sometimes her modifications are almost imperceptible as she integrates into her work the activities of exhibition visitors, natural influences, or temporal processes such as the journey of a Mailed Painting or the accumulated tarnish on a Patina Painting.
Dieter Roth (1930-1998) moved to Reykjavik in 1957 and became an important figure in the local art scene. From the beginning of his creative life, Roth worked in a wide range of media, to include drawing, painting, sculpture, film and music. In addition, he was active as a writer and publisher, producing more than 200 books on a vast range of topics, to
include volumes of poetry, novels, theoretical pamphlets, children’s books, and diaries. The Safn collection includes a large portion of Roth’s artists’ books, created in particular from the 1960s onwards, as well as numerous prints, vinyl records, drawings and art objects.
The Mixed Media exhibition presents a selection of works by both artists from the Safn collection as well as more recent works by Karin Sander. The latter include an artist’s book recently published by the Salon Verlag publishing house in Cologne, in its ex libris series – directly based on Dieter Roth’s Kinderbuch [Children’s Book], published in 1957 in his
own forlag ed publishing house in Reykjavik.
However different their work may appear at first sight, one thing both artists have in common is their use of everyday materials not normally associated with artistic creativity – for instance a slice of sausage in Roth’s Kleiner Sonnenuntergang [Small Sunset] (1972) or Sander’s polished hen’s egg (1994). Another shared interest is participatory art: processes, materials, performative actions, and the observer’s own perceptions are all directly integrated into their works of art.
But whereas Roth’s art always betrays a penchant for self-presentation, one may search Sander’s works in vain for privatist propensities. Roth, who declared his entire life to be a work of art and whose creative production, in particular after 1965, was based on the principle of copiousness, stands in this respect in direct contrast to Sander, the strength
and impact of whose art is characterised by precise, purposeful intervention. The profusion apparent in Dieter Roth’s work is also particularly evident in this exhibition, in contrast to which Karin Sander’s art creates an orderly frame of reference without sacrificing idiosyncrasy and perspicacity. Both positions represent a concept of art marked by a tireless search for new discoveries and new beginnings.
The exhibition is curated by Katharina Wendler.