Roman Signer «Rockets» 1982-1995.


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Action for the opening of Museum St. Gallen, 1987
videotape still.

In another instance «Signer is standing on the snow, wearing a woollen cap, the pointed end of which is attached by a long wire to a fireworks rocket: the explosion and takeoff of the rocket abruptly pull off the head-covering. The compelling strength of Signer's art lies in its complete obedience to the circumstances and structural rules laid down for his actions. Signer calls the slight modifications of a given state 'poetic events.' Poetic in the literal sense of poiesis, man-made creation, and not in its vaguely profound and emotional sense. The radical, factual simplicity of Signer's actions is the very source of their fascinating energy.» ~ Marie Louise Leinhard.

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Action for the opening of Museum St. Gallen, 1987
videotape still.

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Roman Signer, 1995
performance, De Apple, Netherlands.

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Rheinfluegel, Munich.

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Stool with Rockets, 1984
Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna.

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Explosion, 1982
Gallery Hauser and Wirth, Switzerland.

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Signer's moving everyday objects and motorized vehicles are regarded as a representative of an expanded concept of sculpture and work and has meanwhile become a role model for a younger generation of artists. His dynamic, sensitive and even mad sculptures that develop in the fourth dimension – of time – are by no means relics of performances, but rather precisely choreographed. The essence of the event determines the form, and even processes that only last a few moments become action or time sculptures.

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Installation in the forest, Summer 2004
Steel, plexiglass tube, blower, rocket.

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Boot with Rocket, 1995
compressed air tank, rubber boot, ball
Galerie Hauser and Wirth, Switzerland.

Signer gives a humorous twist to the concept of cause and effect and to the traditional scientific method of experimentation and discovery, taking on the self-evidence of scientific logic as an artistic challenge.

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Signer presents moments-long video works documenting his 'action sculptures.' In Stiefel mit Rakete (1995) he attaches a rocket to a boot pinned to a tree. The rocket ignites, the boot pinwheels, the flare sputters and then quickly dies.

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«The question here is more of time-images as Gilles Deleuze calls them, or accidents of time, which harness the event not as form, that is, movement or temporal passage, but as a nonmaterial, nonchronological intensity, an 'explosantefixe' (fixed-explosive), in the words of Andre Breton. The accident as contemporary temporality is presented as time that endures, an instant that persists (outside of its representation), a temporal shock wave that branches, spreads, propagates itself.» ~ Olivier Zahm, ArtForum, 1993.

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Rocket in the Woods, 1978
black and white photograph
Galerie Hauser and Wirth, Switzerland.

Sources: ghw.ch, ok-centrum.at, newmedia-art.org, medienkunstnetz.de