4746 - 20170402 - Belgium - Antwerpen - Middelheim Museum - Roman Signer - 29.10.2016-02.04.2017


Roman Signer, Projet pour un jardin, 2016. Permanent work Middelheim Museum. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Simon Vogel.

Between 29 October 2016 and 2 April 2017 you will get the chance to acquaint yourself with the idiosyncratic work of the Swiss artist Roman Signer, the sculptor who combines poetry, science and action in his work in his own unique manner.
‘Projet pour un jardin’ links together past and contemporary creations that Roman Signer has worked on in collaboration with the Middelheim Museum. In the past these collaborations were part of a group event, this time he’s exhibiting alone. The artist is putting on two actions in and around the Braem Pavilion. In addition, he creates a new permanent work specially for the Middelheim Museum.

Signer & Middelheim, a powerful combination
In the Middelheim Museum time and surroundings play a more intense role than they would in a classical museum. Changing light, the passing of the seasons, the dialogue with later works, the relationship of the landscape versus the art which can be found in it. These are elements with which all the artists in the Middelheim Museum are confronted, but not all of them incorporate this theme in their work. Time and surroundings are at the very heart of Roman Signer’s oeuvre. In that respect his work is perfect for the Middelheim Museum.

Understanding Roman Signer’s work might seem like a difficult task for the uninitiated. And even those who are familiar with Signer’s oeuvre consider ‘Bidon Bleu’, that has been part of the permanent collection since 2012 as atypical work. The monumental character of this work means it is not often identified with the better-known elements from Signer’s body of work. This solo exhibition is an opportunity to see this piece within the context of his other work. It takes him ever further - one action leads to the next - in a seemingly endlessly meandering journey through impressive natural landscapes and recognisable urban situations.

Risk and danger are part of Signer’s actions, but are never a goal in themselves. They have determined the artist’s reputation, but usually stand in the way of a poetic interpretation of his work. The spectator is often confronted with his own expectations of what he finds meaningful or not.

‘Projet pour un jardin’ links Roman Signer’s international career with his love of Sankt Gallen in Switzerland, where he has lived and worked since 1971. ‘Jardin’ is about something homely, something personal, something familiar. For Signer that is Sankt Gallen and the natural surroundings which are so omnipresent in his work and life. The open air museum is a garden for many urbanites whilst at the same time a public domain. This Antwerp story links the local with the international and, by way of ‘his’ Sankt Gallen, makes a link with all the other locations where Signer’s work can be found worldwide.

Fourth dimension, two traces
‘Stop motion: time as a succession of moments in contrast with the exceptional experience of always one moment’. No art is better suited to the theme of the temporary projects that the Middelheim Museum is putting on in 2016 than the work of Roman Signer. In particular, Signer is the sculptor who has added the dimension of ‘time’ to sculpture.

Signer always works according to the same structure, in three phases. First of all there is the basic form, which already contains the potential to change. Every project contains a moment of tension, a moment in which time seems to stand still, before the action takes place. This action, often steered by the artist himself, is the impetus to the change which comes about in the course of the action. The trace, the residue of the action, is the material artwork.

Dynamic and static moments, both past and future: Signer doesn’t see them as incompatible, but as aspects of one and the same work. Because the phases are clearly defined and their order is fixed, the process can also be mentally repeated and thus also captured in our imagination. So his work encourages the spectator to follow him from the physical to the conceptual.

The permanent work of art ‘Bidon Bleu’, the monumental installation which Roman Signer created for the Middelheim Museum in 2012, is a great example of this. During the action (on 26 May 2012) the artist threw a blue canister, filled with water, from a fifteen metre high slope in space. The container splashed open against the rear wall of a concrete construction. The action comes to a standstill, the water evaporates. The only thing left is the trace: the result of the action, frozen in time. The time interval is constantly supplemented with ‘memories of the action, the suggestion of what has happened’. A second trace is the cinematic report that Signer’s wife Aleksandra makes of every action.

“A change in being fascinates me, from beginning to end. This is how a time sculpture is created” ---Roman Signer

As part of ‘Projet pour un jardin’ Roman Signer has been working on two new actions. One of which ‘Haben Sie Angst für rot, gelb und blau? Ja, ich habe Angst!’, were debuted on the first day of the exhibition.

This action consists of red, yellow and blue paintballs, remote-controlled miniature helicopters and a table. With Signer on the remote, the paintballs are dropped onto the table by the helicopter, where the paint leaves behind a permanent trace.

The time sculpture, which is reminiscent of earlier experiments such as ‘Kugel mit blauer Farbe’ (Shangai Biennial 2012), is on show in the Braem Pavilion during the exhibition. The same venue is also screening a cinematic representation of ‘Haben Sie Angst für rot, gelb und blau? Ja, ich habe Angst!’ and a film with previous actions by the artist.

Also in the Braem Pavilion we get to see the result of the action ‘Spuren’ as a temporary installation. This work again contains all the elements which are characteristic of the artist’s work. In a sand carpet we see the traces which Signer has left behind as he zigzagged across it on skis. The journey ends at a ski cabin. There is no trace left of Signer, only his skis in the ski cabin. And the film of the action.

In the video Pendulum (2016), set up in a separate room in the Braem Pavilion, we see the artist's hands rhythmically avoiding a bucket as it swings back and forth like a pendulum. Eventually, the movement ceases, and bucket and hands meet.

‘Projet pour un jardin’ is not just the name of the exhibition and the book about it; it is also the title of a new, permanent work that Roman Signer has made especially for the Middelheim museum. The steel work has a surface area of four by eight metres and is 130 cm high. It looks like a detail of a maze and, when looked down on from above, is reminiscent of the zigzag silhouette of ‘Spuren’ (2016).

In ‘Projet pour un jardin’ it is not Signer, but the visitor who is the central figure in the experiment, who can decide on the journey he embarks upon – in which from above it looks like the head has been separated from the torso. Taller people might have to walk through here with their knees bent. Not as a lesson in humility – in Signer's work there is no room for power or domination – but possibly a symbolic reference to ‘separating the head from the body’, the separation of the emotional from the rational.

In this new project time starts whenever someone begins the journey. That results in another form of experience of time: the personal, physical experience. In that respect the two works from the collection, ‘Bidon Bleu’ and ‘Projet pour un jardin’, complement each other well with ‘Projet pour un jardin’ as a binding element between ‘Bidon Bleu’, the park and the solo exhibition.

Sculpture according to Signer
In the beginning of his career, in the 1970s, Roman Signer carried out research into the visualisation of natural phenomena with almost scientific precision. The basic properties of water, sand and stone, executed in 3-D. He also transformed fire, rockets and explosions into ephemeral actions, or used their power to transform tables, chairs, beds, wooden balls or blue barrels. Other things on his list of favourite props include plastic lint, paint, clay, paper, wooden poles, skis, a kayak, a scooter and a ventilator. The objects, which are each time used in different combinations, have undergone a meticulous selection over the years.

With this limited number of elements Signer sculpts a world which never fails to amaze the spectator. His work makes an important contribution to the tradition of ‘Process Art’ and he single-handedly rewrites the definition of sculpture. With the concepts of ‘action’, ‘distribution in space’ and ‘time’ he has added three new dimensions to it.

Through his work he tackles time in diverse manners: ‘Action with a Fuse’ (1989) lasts 35 days, the closing event of Documenta 8 (1987) lasts just a few seconds. ‘Vitesse: 2000 metres/ second’ (1992) is literally about an enormous acceleration. Sequence, simultaneity, duration, the immediate, continuity, perseverance and rhythm are all ways of giving shape to his images.

Modus Operandi
Roman Signer combines natural elements such as water, wind, earth and fire with simple props such as rockets and balloons. The result is often surprising, absurd and poetic. Water is perhaps the most common element in Signer’s work. The fascination with water has never left this man who grew up on the banks of a river. The ‘meander’ pattern of a natural stream can also be seen in his new work ‘Spuren’ and ‘Projet pour un jardin’. His frugal choice of materials is in sharp contrast with the highly imaginative way he develops his projects. The result is a contrary oeuvre that makes no concessions to trends or aesthetic expectations.

Even though his actions are not functional, his oeuvre expresses a great interest in reality outside the art world. In addition, his actions - without a role but also not without danger - can be seen as symbols or metaphors for an existential questioning: “I need to enter into confrontation with the ephemeral. Perhaps that’s because I’m sensitive to tragedy, the absurd, futility and meaninglessness which we as human beings are responsible for.” (R.S., Venice Biennale, p. 37). Signer uses small things to set something in motion which you can reflect upon in a broader context and which everyone can relate to.
Source: Art Daily
Middelheim Museum - Roman Signer - 29.10.2016-02.04.2017    



4744 - 20170305 - BELGIË - BRUSSEL - Picasso. Sculptures - 26.10.2016-05.03.2017


Picasso. Sculptures

“Large, ambitious and unavoidably, dizzyingly peripatetic”, wrote The New York Times about the Picasso Sculpture exhibition at the MoMA. The Musée Picasso in Paris, in collaboration with BOZAR, builds on the theme. Over 80 sculptures represent the staggering creative power of an artist who really went to town experimenting with a range of materials and techniques. The sculptures conduct a dialogue with paintings, ceramics, photographs and objets d’art from Picasso’s private collection. The exhibition takes a fresh look at a less familiar but very personal aspect of the artist’s oeuvre.

Curators: Cécile Godefroy and Virginie Perdrisot

BOZAR  - Picasso. Sculptures - 26.10.2016-05.03.2017


4742 - 20170115 - BELGIË - DROGENBOS - FeliXart Museum - Drogenbos - Victor Delhez - 16.10.2016-15.01.2017


Victor Delhez (Antwerpen, 1902 - Argentinië, 1985) is één van de belangrijkste houtsnijders uit het abstract modernisme in België. Als grote vriend van Michel Seuphor begint hij met expressionistische gravures die in de eerste nummers van Het Overzicht gepubliceerd worden. Omstreeks 1923 evolueert Delhez naar abstract werk. In 1925 sterven zijn ouders in een auto-ongeval en vertrekt hij naar Argentinië, waar hij als technisch tekenaar en architect aan de slag gaat. Hij verhuist naar Bolivië om in 1940 terug te keren naar Argentinië, waar hij professor wordt aan de universiteit van Cuyo en waar hij de rest van zijn oeuvre verder zet in een magisch realistische stijl.

Toch kent hij doorheen zijn lange carrière in totaal drie abstracte periodes. In 1952 komt hij een tweede maal tot de abstracte kunst met de schertsende Bagatellino-reeks, als persiflage op de abstracte kunst. Vanaf de jaren 60 profileert hij zich als pionier van de tweede abstracte golf en richt zich met zijn kleurenversies van eerdere composities een derde keer tot de abstractie.

In Vlaanderen is vooral het symbolisch fantaisistisch werk van Delhez bekend en gewaardeerd. Het FeliXart Museum wil in een selectief overzicht het licht werpen op zijn pionierswerk en de worsteling met abstracte kunst.

Victor Delhez (Anvers 1902 - Argentine 1985) est l'un des principaux graveurs sur bois du modernisme abstrait belge. Grand ami de Michel Seuphor, il débute par des gravures expressionnistes qui sont publiées dans les premiers numéros de Het Overzicht. Autour de 1923 son oeuvre évolue vers l'abstraction. Après le décès de ses parents dans un accident de voiture en 1925, il part vivre en Argentine, où il commence à travailler comme dessinateur technique et architecte. Il déménage en Bolivie, mais reviendra en Argentine en 1940, étant devenu professeur à l'université de Cuyo. Il y poursuivra son oeuvre dans un style magico-réaliste.
Sa longue carrière est toutefois ponctuée de trois périodes abstraites. En 1952 il s'oriente une deuxième fois vers l'abstraction avec la série humoristique Bagatellino, un persiflage de l'art abstrait. A partir des années 60 il se profile comme pionnier de la seconde vague d'abstraction en réalisant des versions en couleur de ses compositions antérieures.
La Flandre connaît et apprécie surtout l'oeuvre d'orientation symbolique et fantaisiste de cet artiste. A travers un aperçu sélectif, le

FeliXart Museum - Victor Delhez - 16.10.2016-15.01.2016


4740 - 20170129 - BELGIË - ANTWERPEN - Saul Leiter - Retrospective - 28.10.2016-29.01.2017


Saul Leiter - Retrospective

This autumn, FOMU presents a retrospective of the work of Saul Leiter (US, 1923 - 2013), a pioneer of colour photography. Leiter was already using colour film in 1946 at a time when only black and white photography was accepted as an artistic medium. This fact negates the commonly-held assumption that colour images were only used from the 1970s onwards, with the advent of the New Color Photography movement led by Stephen Shore and William Eggleston. Saul Leiter only gained recognition for his pioneering role late in his life; since then, his permanent place in the history of photography has been secure.

Saul Leiter considered himself to be a painter as well as a photographer. His work in both disciplines is linked by a common visual style: abstraction and flatness. He mainly photographed the streets of New York, where he lived for over sixty years. The compositions depict mirrors, windows, road signs, buildings and passers-by. The urban elements blur into amorphous colours that form an important feature of each image.

This exhibition is displaying both Leiter’s colour and his black-and-white photographs, as well as a selection of his paintings and work that has never been shown before.
The exhibition is a partnership between Haus der Photographie, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Gallery FIFTY ONE Antwerp, Saul Leiter Foundation, Howard Greenberg Gallery and FOMU Antwerp.

Curators: Rein Deslé, Roger

FOMU - Saul Leiter - Retrospective - 28.10.2016 - 29.01.2017


4738 - 20170122 - BELGIË-BRUSSEL-ELSENE - Constant Lambrecht - 27.10.2016-22.01.2017


A native of Roelers (1915-1993), Constant Lambrecht was an active member of the lyrical abstraction movement of the second half of the century in Belgium. Nourished by the spirit of Flemish expressionism, he primarily claimed the work of Zadkine and was not averse to Picasso’s Cubism. His paintings were permeated with rhythm and colour. Generous and perceptive work to rediscover at the Museum of Ixelles.

Museum van Elsene - Constant Lambrecht - 27.10.2016-22.01.2017