Björn Roth’s artistic trajectory can be traced from experimental group performances in the late 70s to his current solo practice, through his longstanding, synergetic collaborative work with his late father, Dieter Roth, long established as one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century. Since Dieter’s death in 1998, Björn has continued to expand the large installations and other works co-authored by his father and himself alongside his solo practice.
As a young artist and art student in Iceland in the late 70s and early 80s, Björn’s practice was largely committed to music-related performances in groups such as Freddy and the Fighters (1975–1978) and Bruni BB (1979–1982) whose members included visual artists Finnbogi Pétursson and Ómar Stefánsson. The group became notorious for graphic and highly energetic concert performances that involved body art acts, experimental sound and music making, as well as at times the participation of live animals, often challenging the social mores and attitudes to art making in Iceland in the late 70s and early 80s.
These beginnings led to Björn’s full-time involvement in his father’s work by the early eighties, as his main collaborator in the making of drawings, paintings, material paintings, and increasingly large-scale sculptures, installations, and exhibition making. During that intense period of studio work and exhibition making, new processes were born and unique work methods developed, resulting in many works co-authored by Dieter and Björn.
It is in this environment of committed periodic intensity throughout his career that Björn’s solo practice has matured, in the calm and relative isolation of his homes in the east of Iceland and his studio on the outskirts of Reykjavík. He continues to draw on the Roth heritage of an unbroken flow of productivity; of collecting, reusing, recycling; and of creative experimentation in mutual partnership in collaboration with his sons Oddur and Einar as well as many other artists.
Björn Roth has taken part in, conceived or curated exhibitions in major public and private museums internationally, including MOMA – PS1, New York, Hamburger Bahnhof Museum fur Gegenwart, Berlin, the Schaulager Laurenz Foundation, Switzerland and MACBA, Barcelona, Spain.