Roman Signer

30 November 2001 - 3 February 2002

A selection of new and recent works (from 1997-2001), including a video featuring an exploding suitcase, and a sand installation stretching the length of Gallery 1 which bears traces of the artist’s journey along it on cross-country skis. Roman Signer’s work evolves from scrupulously prepared sculptural events which take place either in the Swiss mountains where he lives (then dispatched in the form of a film, a photo sequence, or a video); or as site-specific installations which bear evidence of a past action. These 'sculptural moments’ involve a vocabulary of simple objects and materials such as balloons, bicycles, water and wood, activated by movement or material transformation (exploding, catapulting, dragging). Signer thus creates a series of ‘successful fiascos’, where the everyday world is revealed as something ambiguously amusing that can turn inscrutable and frightening.

Signer has been making work since the mid-1970s, but it is only in the last decade that his work has become more widely known, and that his impact as a teacher and mentor to a younger generation of artists in the 1970s and 80s has become evident.

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Roman Signer was born in 1938 in Appenzell, Switzerland, and has shown extensively in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and the United States since the mid-1970s. In the last three years solo exhibitions have included shows with Galerie Hauser & Wirth, Zurich; Butler Gallery, Kilkenny and Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno. An exhibition of his photographs took place at the Photographer’s Gallery, London in 1997 and he represented Switzerland in the 1999 Venice Biennale. This is his first solo exhibition of sculptural and video-based works in England.

Supported by The Henry Moore Foundation, Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Embassy and the Swiss Cultural Fund in Britain.

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