21.05.2023, 11 AM

Conversation: Dieter Roth: Books and Music

Dr. Dirk Dobke and Laura Hanssens

“It is my belief that written work is never satisfactory unless it meets the requirements of all standards, that it fails by one flaw. Homogeneously prepared typographical work is dead in the eyes of its viewers. The same applies to music, it is blemished by a bad performance, no matter how beautifully written it is. Authors should, therefore, not only consider the contents of their work, but also its wrapping.”

(Einar Bragi, ‘Interview with diter rot’, 1958 in: Dieter Roth, Gessamelte Interviews, edition Hansjörg mayer, 2002, p. 162)

Dieter Roth, four SCHEISSE books, 1975

Dieter Roth’s oeuvre (1930-1998) is intriguing in its multitude and versatility. The artist approached installations, film and video, sculpture, literature, poetry and music with radical freedom, both in terms of their content, shape, material and technique. It seems as if his oeuvre is in constant motion. Existing works were reworked or deteriorate because of the organic materials used.

Roth considered himself a writer in the first place, with printed matter being one of the most important facets of his oeuvre. Since the early 1950s, he started making experimental artists’ books. Even though the Herbert collection doesn’t contain works by Dieter Roth, Annick and Anton brought together a unique ensemble of his printed matter and music. This material is shown for the first time in the current exhibition Distance Extended / 1979 – 1997. Part II.

Within the framework of this presentation, Laura Hanssens (director Herbert Foundation) will be joined by Dr. Dirk Dobke (president Dieter Roth Foundation) on Sunday 21 May 2023 for a conversation on Dieter Roth. The presentation in the exhibition Distance Extended / 1979 – 1997. Part II will be the starting point to reflect on the innovative way in which Roth approached language, literature, the book and music.

Dr. Dirk Dobke is an art historian, curator and, since 2010, managing director of the Griffelkunst-Vereinigung, Hamburg. He studied art history and classical archaeology at the University of Hamburg and did his doctorate on the early work of Dieter Roth. From 1998 to 2010 he was director of the Dieter Roth Foundation and the Dieter Roth Museum in Hamburg, which he initially built up together with Dieter Roth and then continued in his spirit. Since 2010 he has been president of the Dieter Roth Foundation. Since 2006 he has also been in charge of the work archive of the artist Sonja Alhäuser.


  • 11 AM – 12:30 PM: conversation
  • 12:30 PM – 1 PM: drink and informal chat


  • Language: English
  • Entrance via Raas van Gaverestraat 108

The entrance ticket for the event includes admission to the exhibition Distance Extended / 1979 – 1997. Part II at Loods in the afternoon, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m..