Story of Bern

felt pen on Bristol board, 69 drawings
each 22,5 x 21,5 cm.

"The Friends exhibition took place in the Bern Kunsthalle under the direction of Harald Szeemann in the springtime of 1969. The exhibition centered around Dieter Roth, Daniel Spoerri, André Thomkins and Karl Gerstner, four old friends, all Swiss, who were then living in the Rhineland. They decided that they would each invite still other friends to participate in the exhibtion, in order to further enhance the theme of friendship. I have made a book about this episode, The Story Of Bern, which relates all the details of the encounter among artists, friends, bureaucrats, administrators, diplomats, etc. over the question of censorship. Briefly then, my work was removed on the morning of the opening and, in protest, the next day Dieter Roth removed his entire contribution to the exhibtion. After Bern, the show was scheduled to open in the Düsseldorf Kunsthalle. Dieter held fast to his stand and would agree to participate only if my works were returned to the exhibtion. After many agonizing discussions among the participants, Karl Ruhrberg, the director at Düsseldorf, bravely decided in favor of an uncensored show. And the wisdon of his decision was vindicated. The city remained as calm after the exhibtion as it had been before."