Dr. des. Ina Jessen, Between Life and Art? On Dieter Roth’s Table Mat

Nov. 2019

This paper contextualises and synthesises the semantics in the process of work creation of the artist’s material images titled Tischmatten. In doing so, the concept of the world describes, on the one hand, the subjective world of memory that is reactivated, enlivened and opened up by the catalyst of the sensory experience of food. On the other hand, the cartographic object-making process in Roth’s work reflects an autobiographical world that is marked by semantic connotations of the materials. Material-specific aspects of temporality and decay form causal links between the process of object creation and transformation and the human life process, making the memento mori omnipresent.The theme is also the subject of the contribution:

Ina Jessen, Mapping a World. Zur Tischmatte by Dieter Roth, in: Isabella Augart u. Ina Jessen (eds.), Metabolismen. Nahrungsmittel als Kunstmaterial, Hamburg 2019, pp. 173-192.


Dieter Roth, Tischmatte, 1991-1998
Schreibtischunterlage aus Karton mit fixierten Fotos, Schreibgeräten, Tomaten u.a. auf Tischlerplatte, 104 x 200 cm, Dieter Roth Foundation, Hamburg
© Dieter Roth Foundation, Hamburg / Courtesy Hauser & Wirth