Dieter Roth The Lake of Tears (Der Tränensee) 1973

  • Not on view

In spring 1971 Roth began taking out small advertisements in the pages of the Luzerner Stadtanzeiger, a free pennysaver magazine in Lucerne, Switzerland. He published ambiguous aphorisms such as “Tears are a ship on the sea of tears” and “A tear is as evil as a good word.” The statements were sparsely formatted and, save for the initials D. R., contained no clues about the artist’s intentions or identity. Roth’s ads ran for over a year, until the publisher terminated his contract, reportedly because a significant number of confused and annoyed readers had complained about the mysterious statements. In 1973 Roth bound the sections of the Luzerner Stadtanzeiger that featured his ads; the result is The Lake of Tears.

Gallery label from Wait, Later This Will Be Nothing: Editions by Dieter Roth, February 17–June 24, 2013.
Artist's book of newspaper
page (each): 18 1/2 x 12 13/16" (47 x 32.5 cm); overall (closed): 18 1/2 x 12 13/16 x 2 3/16" (47 x 32.5 x 5.5 cm)
Dieter Roth, Reykjavík
Luzerner Stadtanzeiger, Lucerne
Deborah Wye Endowment Fund
Object number
© 2022 Estate of Dieter Roth
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].