Roth's iconoclastic body of artwork includes everything from sound recordings to works made with organic materials intended to decay over time. Throughout his career, however, books and other printed material provided the most fertile ground for his artistic experimentation.
While on a residency at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art in 1964, Roth initiated Snow, for which he created some six thousand drawings, photographs, and collages. He selected five hundred of these to be reproduced in a book, but the publication was canceled and the artist returned to Iceland with his work. In 1969, Roth turned his unpublished book project into an installation by adding a table—on which the spiral–bound volume rests here—and two wooden chairs. A year later, a book version of Snow was finally printed as the eleventh volume of Roth's self–published catalogue raisonné.
Roth appropriated the imagery for German Cities from black-and-white postcards featuring banal views of landmarks in four cities in Germany. Keeping them true to scale, he reproduced these photographs in an orderly five-by-five grid. Next, he obscured each source image by covering it with a nearly opaque layer of ink, solid except for a shape taken from one of the pictured city’s famed landmarks, such as Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate or Munich’s Frauenkirche. In the grid of twenty-five images, the silhouette of the landmark is purposefully misaligned, matching up only once.
Gallery label from Wait, Later This Will Be Nothing: Editions by Dieter Roth, February 17–June 24, 2013