Since 2008, the Fondazione Zegna has been running a project of permanent works deployed in public spaces in the Trivero region of Italy. Curated by Andrea Zegna and Barbara Casavecchia, ALL’ APERTO (“Outside”) responds to the foundation’s aim of making contemporary art more accessible to local communities and visitors.
Alongside, for example, Dan Graham and Daniel Buren, Roman Signer contributes to the edifice by erecting a giant clock (2012) opposite the main entrance to a factory. Its dial, perched on a steel base almost four meters high, has no hands. Instead, a tube noisily spits out a cloud of steam every quarter-hour.
The artist recounts that the idea came to him during a walk on a factory roof, observing the way smoke escapes from chimneys. With a light touch, he invites us to reflect on the rationalization of time. “Only human time seems to pass at a regular pace”, he says, “whereas nature and energy follow a different flow, where perpetual change is the rule”.*
*Roman Signer, Horloge (Clock), 2012, Permanent installation, fondazionezegna.org