Works from Frankfurt collections

Peter Roehr

November 28, 2009 – March 7, 2010

Installation view MMK

Installation view MMK

Works by Peter Roehr from the Collections Städel Museum, Dr. J. Lindenberger, Frankfurt and Jürgen J. Bode, Königstein/Ts. Photo: Norbert Miguletz

Untitled (FR-14), 1962

Peter Roehr, Untitled (FR-14), 1962

MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main

Untitled (FO-87)

Peter Roehr, Untitled (FO-87)

When artist Peter Roehr, born in Lauenburg in 1944, died of cancer in Frankfurt in 1968, aged only 23, he left behind an oeuvre of great unity and recognizable rigor which many artists of the 1960s and 1970s referred to. The some 600 works he produced follow, without exception, the idea of serial repetition. From everyday materials that he found Roehr mounted (more or less) square collages or assemblages. In this way, he produced a surprisingly coherent body of photo, text, typography, object, sound and film montages that investigate the concept of redundancy without running the risk of becoming redundant themselves. Without any additional commentaries, Roehr put together words, pieces of wood, stamps, buttons, photos, items of advertising, from magazines and brochures to make a picture. Nothing has been manipulated, added or taken away. Never does the artist appear in the foreground. Faced with the flood of images presented by modern art, Peter Roehr uses a concept that does no more than select and name.

Peter Roehr’s art did not find a wider audience until after his death. The radical reductions of his pictorial media and his uncompromising method of calculated seriality were, at the time, provocative and breathtaking, and they still are today, more than four decades later. In parallel to Andy Warhol’s Brillo boxes and Campbell’s soup tins, Roehr produced a work that combined the industrial materials finds of Pop Art, the aesthetic stringency of the Minimal movement and the intellectually radical nature of Concept Art.

However, as is demonstrated by the exhibition “Peter Roehr – Works from Frankfurt Collections”, simultaneously presented as a cooperation between MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt/Main and the Städel Museum, Roehr’s strict formalism is much richer and more garrulous than it might seem at first glance. And whereas MMK focuses on the photo and film montages, at the Städel Museum the artist's minimalist and formalist oeuvre with its clear, reduced formal vocabulary is assembled.

The exhibition has been sponsored by the City of Frankfurt/Main’s museum cooperation pool.


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