09/16/2013 02:24 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Yello Frontman Dieter Meier Talks About His Art

Most people know Dieter Meier as frontman of the Swiss electronic pop pioneers Yello. Few of their fans are aware of the many other activities and roles of this facet-rich personality. Dieter Meier, that's not just the singer and musician, but also the poker player, filmmaker, wine producer, restaurant owner, organic farmer, technological entrepreneur, industrialist and not least: the conceptual artist.

Since the 1960s, Dieter Meier is active as performance and conceptual artist. He had already exhibited at renowned institutions and events such as Kunsthaus Zürich, The New York Cultural Center and Documenta 5, when he quit the "art race" in 1976, as he says, but he never stopped producing art. A comprehensive retrospective dedicated to the artistic work of the multi-talent Dieter Meier is now on view in Switzerland. The Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau presents Dieter Meier's work from the 1960s to date.

In the following video, Dieter Meier talks about the beginnings of his career(s), the re-discovery of his conceptual work and the role of German collector Harald Falckenberg and his attitude towards life, career and success. Finally, there's a sample of his performance as a singer in his new band Out of Chaos.

When people asked me, "What do you do?" I said, "Well, I'm at the University of Zurich. I'm studying the law," but I have not really been there, you know, it was rather a camouflage for my career as a poker player and of a guy who didn't know what to do with himself.


1976: "Behind Flowers," Photographs, performed by Bice Curiger.

I stopped what I call the, 'art race,' in '76, after I had quite interesting exhibitions: Documenta, I had a one-man show at the Zurich museum and so forth, but the art race was not the right thing for me.

The rediscovery of Dieter Meier's work as visual artist started in 2011 with the exhibition Dieter Meier. Works 1969-2011 and the Yello Years at Sammlung Falckenberg, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, followed by solo shows at ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe and The Watermill Center, New York (among others).


1971: "Two Words," New York, February 25, 1971: "Dieter Meier buys the word, 'yes,' or the word, 'no,' for one dollar."

I'm quite good when I have something in my hands, when this piece of driftwood has landed somewhere. I'm a good worker but I'm not desperately fighting to to get things. Things always came to me and at the right time.


1970: "1 Minute," Swiss Television, March 19, 1970: Self-Portrait.

For more videos covering contemporary art and architecture go to VernissageTV.