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Dieter Roth, Tonbild (Sound Picture) (1975-1988)


Walker Art Center



Institution Walker Art Center
For some 40 years, Dieter Roth's work has incorporated nontraditional materials, ranging from organic substances such as chocolate and cheese to ephemeral elements suchas sound and light. This three-dimensional work is an assemblage of such materials from the artist's studio. The layers of sound--which one hears in separate recordings playing of five cassette players--include a tune from the music box in the upper left corner, recorded and re-recorded several times, and the ambient sounds in Roth's studio as he created this work.

When Roth stopped working on this piece in 1988, four of the nine tape decks had already ceased to play and had been marked "kaput" by the artist. It was his intention that all the tape recorders should play until they broke, a process of deterioration that reversed his process of creation. However, because of our institutional mission to preserve the works we collect, the sound you hear is not coming from the cassette players but from a laser disk recording of them made by our staff.

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Type: Commentary, object label
Source: Label text for Dieter Roth, Tonbild (Sound Picture) (1975-1988), from the exhibition Selections from the Permanent Collection, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, December 8, 1996 to April 4, 1999.
Rights: Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009