Oh Yeah and The Race are two of the famous pieces. In the 1980s Dieter Meier became known to a large public as part of the music duo YELLO, who are among the most influential electro-popacts ever. His music videos for the group YELLO exerted a sustained influence on the genre and could almost always be seen on MTV. Far less known is the work of Dieter Meier as concept and performance artist, the origins of which go back to the late 1960s.
The ZKM | Media Museum
presents the work of Dieter Meier, the multitalented artist from Zurich, as well as his activity as director of film and video-clips.
Meiers artistic origins are characterized by radical and absurd-humorous situations, which have inspired him time and time again to direct confrontations with passers-by in public squares: in 1970 he went to Munich and toured the city for twelve hours marking the places through which he had walked and where he stood or rested with a stamped clock sticker; in the Lucerne Art Museum, visitors recorded on a time stamp clock how much time they spent in an empty space. The idea was (...) that they dedicate one or two minutes of their lives to me, said Meier. At the ICA London Meier showed a film instructing visitors to hold up to their eyes the white, large sheet of paper which they were given at the cash register for a period of ten minutes. So, that was the film, said Meier. For a photographic project in 1976, Meier fashioned figures out of powder sugar and Plasticine, before destroying them shortly afterwards. In the same year, he exhibited 48 imaginary biographies in the Zurich Kunsthaus.
Dieter Meiers works were characterized by the phenomenon of time; his actions were mostly announced and terminated with bureaucratic precision. The seeming banality and irrationality of many of his actions contrasted with the enhanced attitude of anticipation among the public. And yet Meier consciously created the insignificant, contrasting the desperate search for significance and artistic patterns of meaning with a frenzied and radical non-meaning.
By the end of the 1970s, Meier had his fill of art racing and, together with Boris Blank, founded the duo YELLO. With pieces such as The Race or Oh Yeah, he celebrated the succuess of YELLO in the international charts; many of the duos pieces were used during the 1980s for TV programs and feature films. In the music videos of YELLO, Dieter Meiers influence from the early works can be clearly seen: thus, the Plasticine figures Meier refers to as Lost sculptures reappear in the video Pinball Cha Cha (1982).
One year ago Dieter Meier opened his artistic archive for the first time for the exhibition en passant in the Berlin project gallery space Grieder Contemporary. The findings, thought to be partly lost, are now presented at the ZKM in the exhibition Dieter Meier. Works 19692011 and the YELLO Years, which could be viewed in the Falckenberg Collection in the Deichtorhallen Hamburg, in 2011.
Dieter Meier was born in Zurich, in 1945. In addition to his work as musician and artist, Meier is an author (Hermes Baby, Ammann Verlag, Zurich; Die Maske des Erzählers 2012, Kiepenheuer & Witsch), Kinderbuchautor (Windjo, Limmatverlag, Zurich; Oskar - wie ein Tiger, Kein & Aber, Zurich) and filmmaker (81'000 Einheiten, Jetzt und Alles, Lightmaker). He was a professional poker player, designed clocks and operates an organic farm in Argentina producing beef and wine. He sells his products in Germany, the USA, Switzerland and in his shop for Argentinian products in Ojo de Agua, Zurich.