Autumn 1994

Daily Mirror

In the hands of Dieter Rot, the British newspaper was transformed into a striking artist’s book

Dieter Rot’s Daily Mirror Book, made from approximately 150 sheets cut from the British newspaper, was originally published in Reykjavik in 1961, in a limited edition of roughly 220 copies. Its size was just 2 x 2 cm and in 1965 Rot enlarged some of these tiny pages to make Quadrat Print, a folder of 60 loose sheets in an edition of 1000. Shown here is the project’s third variant, Daily Mirror (1970), volume 10 in the artist’s collected works, published in an edition of 1000 to a standard format by the German book-art publisher Edition Hansjörg Mayer. Rot’s 472-page offset remake – as thick in the hand as a telephone directory – belongs to a series of works he assembled in the 1960s from the pages of newspapers, comics, printers’ make-ready sheets and children’s colouring books. Cut from their familiar context and seen in looming close-up, the newspaper’s unvarying repertoire of half-tones, headlines, line drawings and clamorous news stories take on a new strangeness and intimacy. As Rot’s collaborator, Richard Hamilton, once observed, it is more the plastic nature of words than their semantics that interests Rot; here, he has amplified an already voluble source until only the suggestion of its original intention remains. ‘INSTEAD OF SHOWING QUALITY (surprising quality),’ explains Rot in a brief preface, ‘WE SHOW QUANTITY (surprising quantity) … ‘QUALITY’ in BUSINESS (f.i. advertising) is just a subtle way of being Quantity-minded: Quality in advertising wants expansion and (in the end) power = Quantity. So, let us produce Quantities for once!’

First published in Eye no. 14 vol. 4 1994

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue.