Signer’s materials are water, fire, air, and earth – elements that ‘intervene in the formation of the work and completes it’ (Roman Signer). His much admired artistic endeavours spanning four decades have brought Roman Signer the reputation of an ‘artist’s artist’.
His finely tuned, deceptively simple ‘time sculptures’ have nevertheless had achieved an unusually widespread impact: Children as well as philosophers, art experts and laymen, art lovers and sceptics alike are equally fascinated by unique combination of visible beauty, transportable poetry, humour, and profound conceptual consequences.
Rachel Withers analyses Roman Signer’s time sculptures from various perspectives. Using Bergson, Bachelard among others as others as a starting point, she examines several key questions of contemporary philosophy and tests their consequences for our understanding of Signer’s works.
She links the time sculptures to the ‘time revolution’ that changed our comprehension of art in the late 20th century and traces Signer’s ongoing fascination with the environment to the current ecological debates concerning the temporality of nature. Lastly, she looks at Signer’s sense of humour and the role it plays in our reaction to his works.