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Horloge /clock

Roman Signer

The protagonist of the 2012 edition of ALL’APERTO is the Swiss artist Roman Signer, who produced here his first permanent public project in Italy. Entitled “Horloge” (Clock), the work is a four metre high “time-sculpture”, as the artist defines it. Akin to an oversized station clock, “Horloge” has an enameled dial but no hands; every quarter of an hour, the time is marked by a long puff of high-pressure steam, each time different and about to vanish, like all the fleeting moments of our lives.

With irony and lightheartedness, Signer thus invites the viewers to engage in a periodic existential reflection. “Only the human time seem to run on a regular basis,” says the artist, “while nature, energy and things follow a different flux, where perpetual change is the rule”.

“Horloge” is located in via Roma, in front of Lanificio Zegna’s main entrance. The concept for this project unfolded during a walk taken by the artist on the factory’s roof, dominated by the presence of a high brick chimney and ongoing emissions of vapour from the plant. With his “trail of smoke” Signer established a connection between work time and free time, and also between Trivero and his homeland landscape – that of the Canton of St. Gallen, where the hills are studded with the chimneys of the local lace factories.

With its clock movement puffs, Horloge wants to surprise the public, as if it was a surreal apparition, but also simply and quietly mingle with the town pace.


Roman Signer

Roman Signer was born in Appenzell (CH) in 1938. He lives and works at St. Gallen (CH). He studied at the Schule für Gestaltung, Zurich (1966) and Luzern (1969-71); Fine Arts Academy, Warsaw (1971-72). Since the early seventies Signer has focused his research on a new concept of sculpture, connected to process, transformation and movement.

He creates “experiments”, actions and kinetic installations, for which he employs common everyday objects, natural elements like sand, water, wind, fire and real explosions. He documents his activity with films, videos and photographs.

Since the Eighties Signer has also realized public installations (among the most recent ones: 2x Stiefel, 2004, Munich; Koffer, 2007, Zurich; Wassertisch, 2008, Appenzell; Le Pendule, 2009, Nantes). He has participated in Documenta 8, Kassel (1987) and Skulptur Projekte, Münster (1997). In 1999 he represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale.

Among his numerous recent solo exhibits are: Camden Arts Centre, London (2001); OK Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz (2005); Ludwig Forum, Aachen; Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau (2006); The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburg; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2007); Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht; Helmhaus Zürich, Zurigo (2008); Kunsthaus, Zug (2009); Swiss Institute, New York; Sprengel Museum, Hannover, (2010); Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros, Mexico City (2011); Hangar à Bananes, Nantes (2012).