Friday, 26 June 2009


Puzzle: Dieter Roth, a film by Hilmar Oddsson, is the sixth exhibition in an ongoing series of shows I'm curating for the basement space at SEVENTEEN.

The show opens on Thursday July 9th and runs until the 1st of August, 2009. Blurb below:


In 1957 a young and unknown Swiss artist by the name of Dieter Roth boarded a ship to Iceland in the pursuit of love. After seven years in a small society unable to contain his talent, he left, leaving behind his life partner and three children to become on one of the most influential artists of the 20th century...

Directors Note:

'I knew Dieter from early childhood, he was my aunt's husband and his eldest son became my first and closest friend. Although I knew him best as a child he touched my life in many ways and he still does, a number of years after his death.

I wanted to make this film to find out where Dieter came from and what shaped him as a person and as an artist. How did Karl Dietrich Roth become Dieter Roth? What was his real connection to Iceland? How did it influence his artistic work and vice versa? What set him apart as an artist?

To find answers to these questions I visited his house in Snaefellsnes, a remote place in Iceland where he used to spend time on his own to immerse himself in his writings. I also travelled to Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Britain and the US, as well as around Iceland, to talk to his family and to his many friends and colleagues.

What emerged from these travels were stories about his childhood, adolescence and young adulthood in Europe; the war and the move to Denmark, where he found the love that brought him to Iceland. His life there, providing for a growing family, his impact on the local art scene, how he finally left to pursue a life as an artist. I learnt how his recognition as such grew but with it also his discontent. How depression and alcoholism shaped his life to the end - an early end which came in 1998 in Basel at the age of sixty-eight.

This film is narrated by the people who shared Dieter's life, for better or worse, and whose lives were shaped by his. It is tragic and happy in turns, the story of an exceptional person who has been celebrated as one of the most singular and important artists of the second half of the 20th century.'

Hilmar Oddsson, 2008

About Hilmar Oddsson:

Oddsson was born in 1957, in Reykjavik, Iceland. Music was his first love and he trained as a cellist before studying film direction at the Feature Film department of the München Hochschule fur Fernsehen und Film, graduating in 1985. Oddsson has worked independently as a television director on documentaries, TV dramas and short films and been instrumental in various film and production initiatives in Iceland. He has taught at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and the Film Academy of Iceland and written extensively on film. From 1996-2006 he was on the board of directors of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

The Earth Not a Globe

I have contributed a catalogue text for The Earth Not a Globe curated at Rokeby, London, by Dani Admiss and Dave Charlesworth. You can read it here.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


I recently organised an event (all day on the 24th of June) as part of a series of happenings organised by the BACCC at Central St Martins.

The event - comprising a screening room, interpretation space and talk - was the first manifestation of a multi-faceted research and exhibition project I've inaugurated called Brown Rice*. The initial incarnation of Brown Rice, titled “Be Grouped”, took the explosion in cultural cooperation and collectivity in 70s London as its starting point.

How did groups, rather than individuals come to define the creative milieu of this era? What were the economic, social and political conditions underpinning radical collective cultural production in the 70s? And what, above all, might we begin to learn about our contemporary moment from these elapsed examples?

The event additionally served as a platform for considering a few of the alternative curatorial strategies suggested by the Brown Rice project. These included: historical excavation as a curatorial strategy / parochialism vs. globalism / ad hoc research solutions / lecture as exhibition space / anti-didacticism (or how to free your head) / how to un-curate.

* Future Brown Rice projects will resonate from this initial event in order to consider in greater detail distinct moments from the history of radical cultural production in 70s London and further afield

(above image: the living room of 1 Carol St, Camden - Scritti Politti's HQ and home. From the cover of their album "4 A sides" (1979))