Painting With Objects

Oddur Roth tells the stories behind the Roth Bar

  • 21 June 2024
  • Produced and Edited by Ed Florance

On the occasion of a new Roth Bar opening in Somerset, Ursula presents a film on the history and ongoing evolution of the Roth Bar. A family affair from the start, the first iteration of the Roth Bar was constructed by German-born Swiss artist Dieter Roth (1930–1998) and his son Björn for Hauser & Wirth in Zurich in 1997 using entirely salvaged materials. Since then, the Bar’s ethos has remained steadfast through its subsequent iterations in St. Moritz, New York and other locations, all helmed by Oddur Roth, Dieter’s grandson. Here, Oddur shares with Ursula the organic and spontaneous action-art behind the Bars, a creative process he describes as happening “by itself.”

“Basically the bar just tells the truth. There’s no rewritten history or anything. It is just, it’s the truth, and that’s it.”

Dieter Roth working on Bar 2 at Musée d’art contemporain in Marseille, 1997, as published in exhibition catalogue Dieter Roth & Björn Roth, Stretch & Squeeze © Dieter Roth Estate

Roth Bar, installation view, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, 2024 © Oddur Roth. Photo: Bjarni Grímsson

“Things happen very much organically. You have to stay away from planning, because then things will be staged. This should happen spontaneously and by itself. We don’t do inventories, we don’t do plans, we don’t do budgets. We just do art.”