Roman Signer was born in 1938 in Appenzel Switzerland. He lives and works in Saint Gallen, Switzerland. Since the mid-seventies, Roman Signer has showed and re-enacted paradoxes. The mini-shows and non-happenings generated by his sculptures, installations and performances and documented by his videos and photographs form a permanent questioning on the economy of entertainment. With a light approach, his work tackles modern concerns such as efficiency, performance or productivity as well as our deeply rooted obsession with functionality.
Renowned for his “Actions”, Signer has often been defined as a pyrotechnical artist or given the label of “explosion-artist”, but he refuses to be circumscribed by the abundant literature and many remarks circulating on his work. The body of work that he has created is in itself extremely versatile, encompassing various disciplines such as happening, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography and video.
Regardless of the chosen medium, the creative process often reveals, by means of a structured suspension in time, what is scarcely or very seldom visible. Signer’s skills are all turned towards the reproduction of a magic moment, almost ritualized by his work: the moment when slight transformation of shape and matter are possible. Signer combines the simplicity of everyday gestures and materials to the complexity of technical devices and physical phenomena, activated without the necessity of keeping them under total control. Signer’s presence is sometimes triggering and off-camera, while sometimes he turns into a real stuntman: the Sisyphus-like boulder pushing character of his own work.
His work is present, among others, in the following collections : Museum Of Old And New Art (MONA), Tasmania; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; FNAC, Paris-La défense; Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt/Main; Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, St. Gallen; Kunsthaus Zug, Zug; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich; MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles; et dans de nombreux FRAC, Fonds régionaux d’Art Contemporain, dont le FRAC Ile-de-France, Paris.
Solo exhibitions include: Tombé du ciel, Frac Franche-Comté, Besançon/FR (2022); The little Art window, Gstaad/CH (2021) ; Skizzen, Museum of Fine Arts, Chur/CH (2020) ; New Sculptures, Videos and Installations, Kunsthaus Zug, Zug/CH (2019) ; Roman Signer, Film & Video: 1975-1989 and Now, Luxelakes – A4 Art Museum, Chengdu/ROC (2018) ; Le temps gelè / Die gefrorene Zeit, Centre de la photographie, Geneva/CH (2016) ; Roman Signer: Slow Movement, The Barbican Curve, London/UK (2015) ; High Line Channel 22, ‘Kayak’, New York/US (2013) ; Kunsthalle Mainz, ‘Attila Csörgo und Roman Signer’, Mainz/DE (2012) Art:Concept, Paris/FR (2011) ; Four rooms, one artist, Swiss Institute, New York/US (2010) ; Secession, Vienna/AT (1999) ; Swiss Pavilion, 48th Venice Biennale, Venice/IT (1999).