Bridging the preoccupations of pop and minimalism, German artist Peter Roehr's film montages (all 1965) loop short excerpts of found footage: shampoo commercials, wrestlers, cars on highways, petrol-station signs. Roehr wrote: "I change material by repeating it unchanged. The message is the behaviour of the material in response to the frequency of its repetition".
Roehr died in 1968, aged just 23. During his tragically brief career, he produced a remarkable body of works employing appropriation and repetition. Holger Liebs says, "His contemporaries did not immediately recognise the quality of Roehr's work. Roehr's series, with their dogged, tautological order, were in many ways so much in step with the trends of their times—among them the aesthetics of information theory, structuralism and minimal art—that their peculiarity long remained overlooked".
On the one hand, Roehr's films are frustrating, suggesting that time is either attenuated or stuck; on the other hand, they foreground the pleasure of sheer repetition. Roehr's generic, anonymous clips take on a new affective scale; the contingent and banal becoming definitive and monumental, even mythic.
The Peter Roehr Estate is represented by Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin.
Screening in the Adam Auditorium. Total screening time: 24min. Hearing loop available—please ask staff for assistance.