Roman Signer: My Voyage to Nantes at HAB Galerie, France
The picturesque city of Nantes rests within western France, its territory occupying an inland island on which the pristine HAB Galerie can be found. Under the banner A Voyage to Nantes, public artworks have emerged within the various channels and expanses of the city, complemented by exhibitions within the walls of a wide variety of the city’s cultural institutions.
The title of this event is echoed by that of Roman Signer’s solo exhibition and its content certainly follows suit by evoking themes of movement and transformation. Evidence of this inclination can be seen via the number of mechanical objects which produce the show: a kayak, a car, fans, a remote-controlled miniature helicopter, a suitcase. On a more mystical level these themes are raised by the artist’s division of the show into the three most dynamic of the classical elements: air, fire and water.
Three patchworks of multiple projected films follow their own kinetic categorisation and at this point I wonder whether there is an element of neurosis to the artist’s consistent compiling. However the sheer degree of experimentation featured here in Signer’s largest ever show in France surely compels an individual to lay down some provisional form of categorisation, if only to aid the viewer overwhelmed by the work’s diversity.
The beauty of Signer’s work can be found when his inquisitive use of materials is at its most dynamic and straightforward, qualities which can be seen in kinetic pieces such as Four Fans (fans alternately switching on and off resulting in a back and forth motion within a window-like wooden structure) and in the rosy Super 8 Films which seem to show the artist enjoying the full potential of his creative ability. The natural landscapes which form the backdrop to these curious kinetic experiments seem to emphasise the primal joy of messing around.For visual rather than political reasons, the shop sits uneasily next to the artist’s work on the floor of the gallery. Whilst the curation occasionally appears a little cluttered, there are a few moments where the work and the space align, for example the use of a large, long section of the central gallery to frame a series of umbrellas knocked over by the artist driving into the gallery space, the three-wheeled Piaggio car abandoned before toppling the entire line.
For further information about Roman Signer click here.