Roman Signer (Swiss, b. 1938) experiments with ordinary objects like chairs, umbrellas, and toy helicopters and exposes them to earth, wind, gunpowder, fire, and water in unexpected ways. What is true for chemistry and physics—that the combination of basic elements can produce something completely new, that every action has a reaction—is also true for Signer’s practice. All of his sculptures and films are thoughtfully conceived works of art, but they are also radical experiments the outcomes of which we (and the artist) can only guess, not having any certainty until they have come to their end. A selection of Signer’s early Super 8 films and some of his more recent videos that document his spectacular, yet stunningly simple actions and performances will be on view in the Video Project Room.
While his work has received less attention within the United States, Roman Signer is regarded as one of Switzerland’s most important living artists and undoubtedly a major figure in international contemporary art since the early 1970s.