Björn and Oddur Roth

  • 1 March – 31 July 2014

Björn and Oddur Roth were the first artists to be invited to work in the newly renovated Maltings studio space. During their residency, they focused on creating a fully-functioning, site-specific bar that now forms an integral part of the Roth Bar & Grill, the gallery’s on-site restaurant. Barbuilding is a long tradition for the Roth family, and was first conceived as an artistic endeavour by Dieter Roth in the early 1980s. As the son and grandson of Dieter Roth, Björn and Oddur are continuing this as an element within their cross-generational practice. Björn Roth also created a number of drawings and watercolors, inspired by the natural forms and shifting seasons of the domestic garden, located at The Maltings.

Inspired by the history of Durslade, the Roths’ bar is composed of salvaged materials and objects from reclamation yards within the area surrounding Bruton. Central to this concept is the polarity between natural order and chaos. Organic and inorganic materials jostle next to one another to create an amalgamation of textures, colors, weights, patterns and layers.

The Roth Bar & Grill is a place where art becomes infused with life. It brings into question the relationship between its function and status as an artwork. These ideas are brought forward through the construction of a cloakroom and a group of hand-crafted bookshelves made for the gallery’s shop. The minimal structured form and areas of compartmentalisation within the bookshelves complement the chaotic intensity of the bar area.

The relationship between order and chaos, decay and regeneration, continues through the Roths’ use of color, echoing the palette used by Dieter Roth throughout his lifetime. Selected objects are daubed with paint, singled out from within a heavy mass of detritus and junk. Blocked out areas of color are interrupted with expressive paint splatters and sprayed pigments, referencing a breakdown of a Constructivist geometry, in pursuit of a more immediate process and experimentation. Embedded within the bar are a number of video screens, showing documentation of the Roth's work in Bruton. By integrating these digital screens into the very fabric of the bar, the Roths continue the diaristic elements of Dieter Roth’s practice, where above all truth is valued—truth to materials, within one’s own work and spirit.

The Roth’s have previously created the Roth New York Bar at Hauser & Wirth’s 18th Street gallery in New York, produced for its inaugural exhibition ‘Dieter Roth Björn Roth’ in 2013. At Hauser & Wirth Somerset, the Roth Bar & Grill is an ongoing art installation, which visitors pass through, use and experience as an everyday environment.