Reykjavík Slides, 1973-1975/1990-1993

Media installation, Variable dimensions

I957, I (D.R.) came to Iceland from Copenhagen where I had lived for almost 2 years and got to know Signidur Björnsdóttir. I followed her to Reykjavik and we married. It was difficult (for me) to get work and money and It took 2 years of waiting to be able to go with I6 mm movie-making that I have been busy with – in Switzerland and Denmark – before I went to (Iceland) Reykjavik.
I met Andrés Kolbeisson, who played oboe in the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and who owned a I6 mm film project. He let me look at my films at his house.
Andrés introduced me to an Icelander who made movies, Oskar Clausen. O. Cl. lived and had his business in a quarter of Reykjavik that was called Múlakampur (“the camps at Múli”). In an old building, one of the barracks the English had erected when they occupied Iceland in the 2nd world war, Oskar Clausen had set up a film studio and a film developing facilities. One was invited to have one’s I6 mm film processed there. The houses around this studio I saw to begin with, covered with snow and in the dark mostly; but sometime in the year 1958 or 1959 I saw these houses in the Múla-Camp in better light, it was spring and the snow had melted. At that time began my infatuation with this kind of house-building. I found it most impressing there at MúIa-Camp. I imagined myself as a collector of photographs, showing to other architecture-fans this wonder of house-building.
But at that time, I could not afford that kind of collection, and when I finally did have the means to start to take pictures and guild the collection, 1967(?), the camp had disappeared. The Reykjavik-Town-Council (or whatever you call this) had pulled it down.
I went, in the following years, through a process of learning; I learnt to see that Reykjavik was not unlike it’s past Múla-Camp. On many walks I came to want, or dreaming of, another Photo-collection, a Reykjavik-Houses-Photo-Collection. Though the very top had been taken off the architectural miracle, -what was left (my image of the city of Reykjavik) was yet reaching higher on my architectural scale than what I had seen in the countries where I had lived. In the year I970, my sons Karl & Björn & I, started to take pictures of the houses in Reykjavik. The next year Páll Magnússon came to help. He was studying in Paris and this job gave him work during the summer holidays of two years. I973 we had pictures of all houses, then in Reykjavik, about I4 thousand slides.
This collection I took with me to Switzerland, and from that base I went to show it as part of some exhibitions I had in different places of Europe. In time, we saw there was only summer on the pictures, and the weather was most often bright; Páll only worked in summer holidays. I began wishing, I could show the City better: in the weather good and bad, and in different times of years.
I had got to know Eggert Einasson around the year 1980 when I taught a short time at the arts & crafts School of Reykjavik.
Eggert started (in winter, this time) 1990-1991 to take pictures of the houses in Reykjavik. The pictures should show other times of the year (not only summer) and other kinds of weather (not only bright times).
In the summer of 1990 Birka Jóannesdóttir came to help Eggert with his work.
Today – the 20th of June I995 – Eggert will come to Seydisfjördur and bring me some of the Reykjavik slides that belong to the second batch of pictures, showing different seasons etc. I want to show these samples of the 2nd part of the collection, that we are completing these days.
To Seydisfjördur I came the first time, when I (D.R.) was on the way, with some friends, to Lodmundarfjördur. Since then, we (mainly my son Björn and his friend Bernd Koberling and Smári Magnusson) often came this way. My excitement about the house-building here reminded me of my excitement about MúIa-Camp and certain quarters of Reykjavik. I asked Bjórn & Eggert, who wanted to drive to Seydisfjördur in December 1988 to take picture of all houses there. In the dark of winter they had to use extremely sensitive film, but they made it.
On the way there they took, for another of my collections photographs (for slides) of Genrin-stations and coffee-shops. This gave us the winter-pictures of all Seydisfjördur houses and all Bewzin-stations and coffee-shops on the road between Reykjavik and Seydisfjördur.
These two collections were taken in December, the darkest time, and we thought we ought to take pictures of the same objects in summer, too, to show the besides of the winter images.
These days, Eggert is taken sic the summer or bright pictures of the Seydisfjördur houses (though it is now cold weather and it is raining most of the time) and we hope to be able to show some of the slides already theses days, here in Seydisfjördur.
There is left to show the Genrin-stations, not only in winter and at the road from Reykjavik to Seydisfjördur, but also in summer and at the road from Seydisfjördur – around the North Country – to Reykjavik. This tour Eggert & Björn want to make it this summer. Some of theses places one can already see.

The pictures have been taken by
Karl Roth (born in Geneva)
Björn Roth (Mosfellsbaer)
Páll Magnússon (Reykjavik)

Dieter Roth, 1995

Technical details

Original title:
Reykjavík Slides
Registration number:
Roth, Dieter
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Media installation
7 simultaneous slide projections, large glass cases with carousel slide projectors, photomechanical reproductions on paper and city map of Reykjavik
Variable dimensions
Edition number:
Ed. 2/3 + 1 P.A.
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
© Estate of Dieter Roth
It has accessibility resources:

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