November 2, 2007 - The Fruitmarket Gallery - Roman Signer
November 2, 2007

Roman Signer

Roman Signer
Office Chair (Bürostuhl) 2006
DVD, 1’03″
Camera: Tomasz Rogowiec
Editing: Aleksandra Signer
Courtesy the artist

Roman Signer
2 November 2007 – 27 January 2008

45 Market Street
P +44 (0) 131 225 2383
F +44 (0) 131 220 3130
info [​at​]
Mon – Sat 11am – 6pm,
Sun 12 – 5pm

The Fruitmarket Gallery’s winter exhibition is a solo presentation of the work of Swiss artist Roman Signer. A major figure in international contemporary art since the early 1970s, Roman Signer makes sculptures, installations and films that bring everyday objects together in unexpected ways.

This, his first exhibition in Scotland, presents new work made since 2000 in the context of Installation (2006), a reworking of classic film works from as far back as 1975. Selected by the artist for The Fruitmarket Gallery, the exhibition provides both a snapshot of his current preoccupations and an insight into the themes and ideas that have inspired him throughout his long career.

The works in the exhibition present curious combinations of objects, forces and effects. Inflatable armbands are attached to snow skis; an umbrella blasts through a briefcase; suspended from the ceiling, a bottle of whisky rotates over a fan. All of Signer’s sculptures and films are art works, but they are also radical experiments. Signer makes them in order to see what will happen when objects are used against our expectations of them.

Signer’s works challenge our ideas about familiar objects and how we experience them in time. Fireworks, gunpowder, wind, fans and gravity are harnessed as animating forces, making possible his strange assemblages.

The film Office Chair (Bürostuhl) (2006) shows Signer sitting in a swivel chair spun round by two fireworks he hold in his hands, releasing the chair from its desk-bound mundanity and turning it into a revolutionary fun ride. To make Easter Bunny with Rocket (Osterhase mit Rakete) (2006) the artist shot a chocolate rabbit with a firework through a small cannon at close range. The result, a damaged representation of a rabbit, elicits more sympathy than its accepted fate as an edible confection. The works are paradoxes: serious and humorous; technically difficult but visually simple, even elegant; absurd in their conception but supremely logical in their execution.

Talks and Events

Jeremy Millar: Wanderweg
Wednesday 21 November 2007, 6.30pm. Free
In March 2005, Millar walked with Roman Signer from Appenzell to St. Gallen, retracing the route of the artist’s 1989 work Action with a Fuse. Millar, artist and AHRC Research Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts, University of Oxford, talks about this journey, and his work with Signer over the past decade. Millar’s exhibition at Sleeper in Edinburgh opens on 24 November 2007.

Rachel Withers: Roman Signer’s Time Sculptures
Wednesday 12 December 2007, 6.30pm. Free

Art critic and lecturer at Wimbledon College of Art, Withers discusses Signer’s work in relation to questions of time.

Richard Clay: Sign(er’s) Transformations
Wednesday 23 January 2008, 6.30pm. Free

Richard Clay, lecturer in the History of Art at the University of Birmingham, explores how Roman Signer’s blurring of boundaries between making and breaking relates to historical understandings of iconoclasm.

Seminar: Experiments and Experience:
Getting inside the work of Roman Signer and Monika Sosnowska
Tuesday 6 November 2007, 2-7pm
Free to students
(with proof of status)
Seminar Venue: Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh
Evening Reception: The Fruitmarket Gallery
Organised in collaboration with Talbot Rice Gallery, whose Monika Sosnowska exhibition runs from 27 October to 8 December, this seminar brings together a range of critical perspectives on the experiential and experimental qualities of the two galleries’ current exhibitions. Speakers include Monika Sosnowska, Isla Leaver-Yap (curator at Baltic in Newcastle), and University of Edinburgh lecturers Richard Coyne (Architecture), Angela Dimitrakaki (History of Art) and Tamara Trodd (History of Art). Chair: Moira Jeffrey (arts writer and journalist).

To book for any of these events please contact The Fruitmarket Gallery bookshop on +44 (0) 131 226 8181 or

The Fruitmarket Gallery
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