Roman Signer

Rochester Art Center

Though a finalist for the 2008 Hugo Boss Prize (or perhaps the winner, by the time this magazine hits the stands), Roman Signer is not well known in the United States; in fact, before the Rochester Art Center’s recent exhibition, his work had not seen a large-scale survey in the US since the Cranbrook Art Museum staged one in 1997. Born in Switzerland in 1938, Signer has been working for the past three decades in a poetic style that mobilizes chance, humor, found objects, and a distinctive type of performance, which is often presented in film. From our perspective today, Signer’s pared-down assemblage and his emphasis on the temporal event read as a missing link between 1970s Conceptualism and the relational attitude of contemporary artists like Gabriel Orozco and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

Favoring objects that speak of the body in motion (such as kayaks and bicycles), Signer, like many artists

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