by Silvia Goñi
Pedro Roth welcomes us in his home studio where he paints surrounded by works of his friends and colleagues of so many years. In this way, memories and feelings are always on the surface.
Roth was born in 1938 in Budapest (Hungary). He is a tireless worker, a project designer, faithful to his principles. He studied film at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de La Plata. He started out as an artist, social and art gallery photographer. Later, in the ’60s, he ventured into painting together with the artists of the Instituto Di Tella.
In the midst of the pandemic, he inaugurated the exhibition “Essential Art”, curated by the director of the MNBA Andrés Duprat, at the « Cercano oriente » supermarket located on Lavalleja street in Buenos Aires city. There, paintings, sculptures and photographs of Pedro Roth and his friend Roberto Plate are shown among the gondolas, talking with basic necessities. The supermarket, which belongs to his son Damián Roth and Juan Martín Hsu, is located on the ground floor of the film production company that they run together.
In these times, art is manifested as something essential for the human being. The artist always had a social function, in prehistoric times the painter of bison guaranteed success in the hunt, “the image created, invoked, materialized the food,” says Pedro. “We are heirs to the painter of bison,” he adds.
This is the third pandemic that the artist goes through. First, the holocaust during the Second World War in Hungary, then the polio epidemic recently arrived in Argentina and currently the corona virus. Virus that symbolically attacked with Roberto Plate in a painting on display in the supermarket. Plate, set designer, lives in Paris and accompanied Pedro during a few months of his quarantine in 2020.
“Art is living a wonderful life,” says Roth, paraphrasing his great friend, the artist Federico Peralta Ramos. His projects are innumerable. Always with innovative ideas to capture art in everyday life: food, play, dreams. “I don’t remember my dreams, but I paint my dreams.
“I am the keeper of memory” is why in many of his works he represents the traditions of the Old Testament and Jewish culture.
Roth in his writings reflects “the great intellectual disappointment is that they have made us dream of other people’s dreams, the dreams of the United States. We intellectuals have failed since the time of Frondizi to have dreams of our own. They took away our self-esteem, they took away our dreams. It is what we must recover and art can help us. To return to our essence, to our being, like the artist in the face of emptiness, restart the path towards fullness.
… That is why we are projecting a home for national culture, a place to produce knowledge, works, fruitful discussions, where the meeting of cultures makes metaphors flourish … leave behind the loneliness of the artists, exchange it for collaboration, the community, the other. ”
“Essential Art” exhibition at the Cercano Oriente Supermarket can be visited Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Lavalleja 1386. CABA.