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Dieter Meierartist sheet 42/73

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The career of this punk dandy includes experimental films, conceptual performances, self-portraits as a magician, the Yello musical venture with Boris Blank punctuated by legendary video clips, and more recently new musical projects and major exhibitions. And so much more…

PerformanceProcess Paris, Centre Culturel Suisse 18.09-13.12.15
tue 13 Oct 2015
1
20h
Dieter Meier / Out of ChaosCentre culturel suisser+33 1 42 71 44 50

Presented in the Focus Dieter Meier

Out of Chaos is Dieter Meier's new musical project, he is accompanied by Ephrem Lüchinger (piano), Tobias Preisig (violon), Alessandro Giannelli (batterie), Nicolas Rütimann (guitare) and Ralph Sonderegger (basse).

wed 14 Oct 2015
1
20h
Dieter Meier / Out of ChaosCentre culturel suisser+33 1 42 71 44 50

Presented in the Focus Dieter Meier

Out of Chaos is Dieter Meier's new musical project, he is accompanied by Ephrem Lüchinger (piano), Tobias Preisig (violon), Alessandro Giannelli (batterie), Nicolas Rütimann (guitare) and Ralph Sonderegger (basse).

Exhibitions

The career of this punk dandy includes experimental films, conceptual performances, self-portraits as a magician, the Yello musical venture with Boris Blank punctuated by legendary video clips, and more recently new musical projects and major exhibitions. And so much more…

60 years of performance art in Switzerland museum Tinguely, 20.09.2017 - 28.01.2018

Two Words (1971)

25.02.1971, 16:00 – 18:00, 57th Street / 8th Avenue, New York

Meier pays a dollar to every person who opts for either YES or NO by saying the word out loud. Each purchase is documented with a certificate.

Pink (1969)

05.11.1969, Bahnhofstrasse / Bellevue / Heimplatz / Paradeplatz, Zürich

A fifteen-meter long, pink plastic strip is secured diagonally in the public urban space.

5 Days (1969)

17.11.1969 - 21.11.1969, Heimplatz, Zürich

Meier stands in a public square and for five days, eight hours a day, counts off 100,000 metal pieces. He fills bags containing 1000 pieces each.

Confirmation of Passage (Gang-Bestätigung) (1970)

06.07.1910, 17:00 – 20:00, Helvetiaplatz, Zürich

A route is marked in the public space. Each person that walks along it receives a certificate with their name, the date and the time of crossing.

Gehen (1979)

13.07.1970, 18:00 – 19:00, Bellevue, Zürich

Meier walks a 20-meter route on a public square for one hour. The action had been announced in the press beforehand.

This man will not shoot (1971)

23.02.1971, 21:00 – 23:00, The New York Cultural Center, New York

Meier stands holding a revolver in the institution's lobby. Next to him a sign stands on the floor with the inscription: "This man will not shoot."

Datum I/II (1972)

27.06.1972, documenta 5, Bahnhofsplatz, Kassel
Meier installs an inscribed metal panel on the ground on the Bahnhofsplatz: "AM 23. MAERZ 1994 VON 15.00-16.00 UHR WIRD DIETER MEIER AUF DIESER PLATTE STEHEN KASSEL, 27.JUNI.1972" (Dieter Meier will stand on this slab on 23 March 1994 from 3 to 4 pm Kassel, 27 June 1972).

23.03.1994, Bahnhofsplatz, Kassel
On 23 March 1994 Meier stands surrounded by spectators on the metal slab from 1972 from 3 until 4 pm. The slab is removed afterwards.

PerformanceProcess Paris, Centre culturel suisse 18.09-13.12.15

Akrobatik I - VII (1977, 25'45'')

In the series of experimental films entitled Akrobatik, he attempts improbable postures, often with an accomplice.

photographs of performances

Presented in the Focus Dieter Meier

Pink (1969) black and white print on paper
5 Days (1969) black and white print on paper 
Gang-Bestatigung (1970) black and white print on paper 
This man will not shoot (1971) black and white print on paper 
Datum I / II (1972) black and white print on paper
Gehen (1979) black and white print on paper

extraball

symposium

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biography

Born in 1945, lives in Zurich
Dieter Meier's work has numerous facets: a conceptual approach, introspection, performances, grotesque pranks, humour and play. In the 1970s, Dieter Meier made conceptual performances in Zurich and New York, exhibiting at the Kunsthaus in Zurich and the New York Cultural Center. He even carried out a project as part of Documenta 5 in Kassel in 1972, in the form of a plaque on the ground referring to an event in 1994, which would take place before a large audience. In 1976, he decided to quit the “art race”, though he continued to create. Recently he has begun exhibiting again, in particular at the Sammlung Falkenberg, Deichtorhallen in Hamburg and the ZKM in Karlsruhe (2011–2012), at the Watermill Center in New York (2013) and at the Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau (2013).

bibliography

interview

images

vidéos

texts

The acrobatic singer of nothingness

It was Yello that made Dieter Meier famous. As far back as 1977, he sang at punk gigs and brought out his single Cry for Fame. Today he sings with new bands and exhibits in museums. ...

It was Yello that made Dieter Meier famous. As far back as 1977, he sang at punk gigs and brought out his single Cry for Fame. Today he sings with new bands and exhibits in museums.

Yello's music videos made Dieter Meier into a contemporary art icon, but what MTV viewers could not know at the time—and what a lot of people are still unaware of—is that in videos such as Pinball Cha Cha (1982), he combined his early films as an artist with his initial experiences as vocalist of the Zurich duo to form a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk, with Boris Blank bringing his own musical world into the mix.

The modelling clay figurines in Pinball Cha Cha danced inside a multicoloured pinball machine, as in Lost Pieces, shown in 1976 at the first exhibition of his work at the Kunsthaus in Zurich. For many art buffs, these figurines are forerunners of those of Peter Fischli David Weiss. Dieter Meier started by giving up the “art race”, making his comeback with major solo exhibitions at the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg (2011) and the Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau (2013).

At Art Basel in 2015, he showed videos from the Akrobatik series (1977), in which he attempted to do handstands on a chair holding a rose (which is just “a rose”, as Gertrude Stein would say). He fails over and again, a symbolic figure of the demise of the modern era. Failure, though a popular posture in the art world, has never been his goal, however. On the contrary, his aim has been to explore the depths of the Self via artistic interventions, experimental films, ephemeral works and voice exercises. This is what he told us in Zurich:

“My father always wanted me to learn to play a musical instrument, but as I was too lazy to learn the flute: for the annual school concert the teacher made me sit at the back, took my flute off me, and stuck a ruler in my mouth. [...] After my first poker game—we played for very high stakes—I bought a guitar. I was 24. I very soon realised that I would only be able to play it if it only had one string, so I removed all the others. And I started to hum a kind of Indian chant, DAADAADAA, to accompany it: that's how I started to get to know about music.

After that, I played in a punk band called Assholes. I shouted at the top of my voice in exotic languages, yelled “bebop”, screamed, tapped on the mike…you get the picture: it was anarchy in all its glory.”

Today, his single entitled, with unerring modesty, Cry for Fame, has attained cult status. Back in the day, he could be seen wearing sunglasses and screaming himself hoarse at Club Hey on Place Bellevue in Zurich—but two or three lucky breaks later, and with a touch of Boris Blank, Yello took off on the international stage.

“Our debut single was played by DJs working on the top black and Latino radio shows in the US—it was an early form of rap, with a single note because I can't sing... It was a huge success, and it landed us all those completely crazy contracts with Warner Bros—although in reality we didn't intend for any of it to happen.”

Success on MTV earned them plenty of “extra balls”, while the pinball machines were churning out radical texts such as standingonthemachineandeverydayforallthelife. As for Dieter Meier, he has never worked behind a machine in a factory. From the start, he has always tried to reinvent his life.

He received the World Music Award for The Race. At the Midem in Cannes, Vicious Games was nominated and Desire won an award, and Pinball Cha Cha is part of the music video collection at the MoMA in New York.

For the two concerts at PerformanceProcess, he'll be joining up with his friends from the band Out of Chaos: Tobias Preisig (violin), Ephrem Lüchinger (keyboards), Alessandro Giannelli (drums) and Ralph Sonderegger (bass).

 

Stefan Zweifel, curator and philosopher

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