First artist’s book – Dieter Roth
Germany 1930 – Switzerland 1998
Versions of the books published by forlag ed, Reykjavik 1957 and Dieter Roth, Reykjavik 1956
28 pages, four colour screenprinting and die-cutting, 22.5 x 23.5 cm, spiral binding
22 sheets of colour acetates and white card, die-cutting, 22.5 x 24 cm, spring-clip folder, 23 x 25 cm. Edition of 1000.
books house in box 23.5 x 26.5 cx 4.5 cm
printed by Frank Kicherer, Stuttgart and Staib + Mayer, Stuttgart
edited by hj. mayer and d. rot
edition hansjörg mayer, Stuttgart, London, Reykjavik.
It was perhaps inevitable that Roth, poet, artist and designer, would choose the book as his medium for experimentation. This began in 1954 with Kinderbuch (Children’s Book) (1954-1957) conceived for Claus Bremer’s son. Bremer returned the book with the request Roth have it published. The search for a publisher, first in Switzerland and then in Copenhagen (where he moved in 1955) was unsuccessful. Publishing houses generally showed little or no interest in taking on these ‘new books’, and this first copy of Kinderbuch was thrown out.
In 1957 Roth moved to Reykjavik to join his future wife. Still unsuccessful in finding a publisher for Kinderbuch, he founded “forlag ed”. It was the first of Roth’s many publishing houses. Others include “taucher verlag” (diver press) and “wasser verlag” (water press). The freedom of independent publishing suited his innovative book concepts, his temperament, the obsession he had with detail and perhaps even an obsession with control. Kinderbuch was the first title published by “forlag ed”. Edition numbers are uncertain. In Dobke’s catalogue raisonné they are given as approximately 25 with cut-outs and approximately 75 without cut-outs. The previous year he had produced three copies of another book titled Bilderbuch by hand. Kinderbuch and Bilderbuch would be published together as one publication in 1976 in an edition of 1000 as Collected Works, Volume 1 in collaboration with edition hansjörg mayer. Photographer Carl Warner.
Dobke, Dirk 2004, Dieter Roth : Books + Multiples, Catalogue Raisonné, editions hansjörg mayer, London. pp. 147-148
Dobke, Dirk 2006, Dieter Roth in Print – Artists’ Books / Künstlerbücher, Zucker Art Books, New York. pp. 8-13
mayer, hj., rot, d., & sohm, h. (eds) 1972, Collected Works, Volume 20 – books and graphics (part 1) from 1947 until 1971, Stuttgart, London, Reykjavik. nos. 1, 3
Collected Works, Volume 40 – Books and Graphics (part 2) and other stuff, 1979, edition hansjörg mayer, Stuttgart. no. 84
Collection: Centre for the Artist Book, grahame galleries + editions