Playing With Time and Explosives. Malmö Konsthall Introduces Works by Conceptual Artist Roman Signer

Playing With Time and Explosives. Malmö Konsthall Introduces Works by Conceptual Artist Roman Signer

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The works by Swiss conceptual artist Roman Signer are now on display at the Malmö Konsthall Gallery in Sweden. This exhibition presents his entire body of work from the 1970s to the present day. The show features his iconic object art such as buckets, kayaks and bicycles, but also older works documented through photographs and videos. This exhibition is on from 3 June to 10 September 2023 and marks Roman Signer's first solo exhibition in Sweden.

Roman Singer's exhibition at Malmö Konsthall Gallery takes place from 3 June - 10 September 2023. 

Roman Signer, Vatteninstallationer, Malmö Konsthall 2023. Source:, Photo: Helene Torsdotter

Swiss conceptual artist Roman Signer has redefined the boundaries of traditional sculpture during his more than fifty years of practice. In his work, the artist experiments with time, gravity and the forces of nature to create so-called "Zeitskulpturen" or time sculptures. To create these sculptures, he often uses common everyday objects such as umbrellas, tables, shoes, containers, hats, bicycles and kayaks; these elements feature repetitively in the individual works. Although his "Zeitskulpturen" are often short-lived, the work itself only lasting a few seconds, they leave viewers in awe and fascination, and by looking at the effect of natural forces on the physical matter of the work, we are reminded of how volatile and fragile the world around us is.

Roman Signer, 20/43 Aktion in Sedrun, 2010, fotografie. Zdroj:


Roman Signer achieves the targeted effect by perfectly combining stillness with a sudden release of energy, chaos and order. He plans his works very carefully, but at the same time leaves room for chance and the unknown. The result is visually arresting installations with a unique style and a strong, individual aesthetic. Signer does not forget humour and wit, avoiding austerity and tension. Often, just the hint of a possible sudden release of energy is enough to transform a simple installation of objects - a moving wooden arm and a rocket - into a witty and concise visual commentary on the relationship between cause and effect.

 Roman Signer, Installation, Malmö Konsthall 2023. Source:, Photo: Helene Torsdotter

Signer's main media are sculpture, photography and video. All this can be seen in the ongoing exhibition at Malmö Konsthall Gallery, which is also his first solo exhibition in Sweden. On display are artworks that have been created throughout his career, from the 1970s to the present, including two works made specially for the occasion. The exhibition includes around twenty sculptures and seventy film documentations of his creative processes. In addition to the famous mountain of sand buckets and bicycles installed in various shapes, the recurring motif of the red kayak makes it a recognizable Roman Signer exhibit.

The artist is a former enthusiastic kayaker, but when a close friend of his died during this sport, he said goodbye to kayaking, but not for good. Years later, kayaking returned to his life in the form of art. As long as the kayak was a symbol of sport, he couldn't relate to it through art. Today it is the other way around, for him the kayak is above all a tool of artistic expression and he can no longer relate to it as a sporting activity. The gallery also hosted a live demonstration of his famous "Vatteninstallation". The work was created for the Bonnefantenmuseum in the Netherlands in 1999 and has not been replicated anywhere since. Until now.

Roman Signer, Vatteninstallation, Malmö Konsthall 2023. Source: Malmö Konsthall

Roman Signer was born in Appenzell, Switzerland, and began his artistic career at the age of 28 after gaining extensive experience in various professions. He previously worked as an architecture draftsman, trained as a radio engineer and for a short time had a job in a pressure cooker factory. Signer holds diplomas from art institutions in Switzerland and Poland. From 1966-1971 he studied at the Schule für Gestaltung in Zurich and Lucerne. Subsequently, from 1971-1972, he continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.

His works have been presented in many museums and galleries around the world and have been selected for prestigious international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale, where he represented Switzerland in 1999, Skulptur Projekte Münster (1997) and Documenta 8 in Kassel, where he catapulted 350,000 sheets of paper into the air simultaneously with an explosive charge during the "Aktion vor der Orangerie".

Roman Signer, Instalace, Malmö Konsthall 2023. Source:, Photo: Helene Torsdotter

Roman Signer, Vatteninstallation, Malmö Konsthall 2023. Source: Malmö Konsthall

As a tribute to Signer's celebrated outdoor sculpture shows, including Documenta 8 in Kassel and Skulptur Projekte in Münster, four works by the artist will be installed in Pildammsparken Park as part of the exhibition.

Roman Signer, Ski, 2000. Photo: Helene Toresdotter. Source: Malmö Konsthall


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Published 28.08.2023

Sabina je studentkou architektury na Fakultě architektury ČVUT. Baví ji sledovat českou kulturní scénu, umění, design a architekturu, avšak nejvíce ji zajímá, jak se tyto obory vzájemně prolínají. Věnuje se popularizaci designu a architektury prostřednictvím psaní článků pro magazín Czechdesign a aktivně působí ve spolku Kruh. Od června 2023 přispívá i do magazínu Sport in Art. Odpočinek nachází při cestování, jógové praxi nebo běhu, skrze který poznává město z jiné perspektivy.

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