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Roman Signer


This is a free event and does not require booking

Kayaks, cannons and catapults are all employed by the internationally renowned artist Roman Signer for his solo exhibition at DCA this summer.

In a career spanning more than four decades, Signer has become synonymous with playful actions exploring chance, space and time. This exhibition focuses upon a series of works concerned with the aftermath of these actions, or with their potential to take place.

The first gallery is given over to a single work in which the artist has attempted to knock over a grid of standing wooden posts. Viewers are able to walk around the precarious installation.

Kayaks are a recurring motif in Signer’s work, and two of these appear in the main gallery. One has been launched into the wall of the gallery using a catapult, released after a candle burnt through a rope. The resulting debris will be left untouched throughout the exhibition’s run. A second kayak artwork sees the boat filled with over 200 litres of whisky donated by William Grant and Sons Ltd, in a strange and playful reversal of the vessel’s usual relationship with water. In other works, a steel cannon is pointed at an open tent and bottles of whisky are suspended on strings and blown in circles by electrical fans.

Roman Signer was born in Appenzell, Switzerland, in 1938. He studied at the Schule für Gestaltung, Zurich, in 1966, the Schule für Gestaltung, Lucerne, between 1969 – 1971 and at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, from 1971 – 1972. He lives and works in St. Gallen.

Presented in association with the Barbican. Exhibition supported by Pro Helvetia, with thanks to Galerie Hauser & Wirth and William Grant and Sons Ltd.



Roman Signer, Kayak with Fountain, 2015. Lakeside Terrace, Barbican Centre, London, UK. Photograph by Tristan Fewings © Getty Images. Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery, the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Roman Signer, Installations, installation view. Photographs by Ruth Clark.