PRINT October 1998

Gary Garrels

Journeys begin and end often in unexpected places. In 1984 I had gone to Düsseldorf to see the sprawling exhibition “von hier aus,” a survey more or less of contemporary German art organized by Kasper Koenig. I did see and learn a lot about German art, but Koenig, as is his wont, kept the side doors open and Roth slipped in, or more likely, given his ways, was skeptically inducted. Though Roth was born in Hannover, during World War II he had been shipped off by his parents to Switzerland, which would remain as much a home to him as any other place for the rest of his life. He didn’t really fit in the exhibition, although the title, which might be translated as “from here on,” somehow seemed more apt when it came to his work than that of others. The work was messy without being summary, indulgently autobiographical, with details as obsessively remitted as those of any German artist but

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