Dieter Roth

Selbstturm, Löwenturm

The sculpture ‘Selbstturm; Löwenturm [Self tower; Lion tower]’, by Dieter Roth seems like a mass of memories that have fallen out of time.

The small busts, standing just 20 centimetres tall, are made of chocolate mixed with birdseed.

They were originally mounted on broom handles, with a platform provided for garden birds to perch and consume the sculptures.

From 1969 onwards, Roth began to stack the casts into towers, starting with the ‘Selbstturm‘ and continuing from 1970 with the heads in the ‘Löwenturm’.

From 1985, Roth began to augment the self-portraits and lion busts with sphinx-like figures combining human and animal features and started also to experiment with various types of sugar. The sugar casts were deposited on the earlier, chocolate layers of the tower.

Dieter Roth described this structure as an image of nature, with the brown chocolate symbolising the earth, and the coloured and light blue sugar figures evoking, respectively, flowers and the sky.

Since the works were first created, their organic materials have continued to change and evolve, in complicity with the artist – decaying and crumbling, emitting odours, and altering their shape and colour.

The work is currently on show in a room at the Schaulager, Basel.

English and German text.

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