Signers Koffer - Unterwegs mit Roman Signer (1995)

SIGNERS KOFFER is a kind of road film across Europa. From the Siviss Alps to eastern Poland, from Stromboli to Iceland. Always following the scenery's magically charged contours.


This film records many works created by Swiss artist Roman Signer using basic everyday objects along the way. Acceleration and change are part of the creative process. Physical forces such as gravity and electric motor energy are both the tools and challenges he depends on to realize his ideas. The experiments of his works usually include detonating, throwing objects into the air or colliding objects, which are recorded in films and videos. For example, in Mützemit Rakete(1983), a string of ropes connects the firework and the knitted hat that Signer wears and covers his face. After the fireworks were lit, the knitted hat suddenly flew into the air, revealing the artist's face. In Hocker-Kurhaus Weissbad(1992), a small explosion triggered the ejection of the four-legged stool from the window. The stool flew out of the high window and fell to the ground.


Signer explores the possible uses and limitations of everyday objects. In his work, ordinary sculpture materials are changed by sand, water and other everyday objects. Signer's artistic exploration of the surrounding world and its phenomena has had a profound impact on the way I think and experiment. He believes that satisfying the inner pleasure is more important than everything. He does not care about the grand narrative. Even if the work he made is seemingly meaningless to others, as long as the work is completed, there will be no waste on this day. The works of him and Peter Fischli & David Weiss made me feel humorous and have unexpected aesthetic effects.


Roman Signer has been redefining sculpture, and every piece of work makes me suddenly have a brain wave. He makes basic dynamic sculptures and installations, which is called time-sculpture because of his focus on the changes of materials and objects with time. Time-sculpture focuses on the audience's attention on the experience of the event, the changes that have taken place, and the forces involved. Signer's time-sculpture combines various combinations of three-dimensional objects, live shooting, still photography and moving image documents to form a plot to contain and release energy, exploring the relationships between sudden energy release and calm, order and chaos, formal and formless.


“Familiar objects have their place in our surroundings and they seem to fit in a natural map of the world. What I do is to bring them to a new narrative which doesn't obey their functionality.”


For the past 16 years, Mexican artist Mauricio Alejo has been photographing his daily necessities in the New York apartment. These images have become a true collection of his personal memories. They exist as Alejo ’s autobiographical records during his life in New York. By constructing unusual environments or unnatural conversations, the sculptural qualities of household objects are revealed. In these images, Alejo hopes to bring a psychologically incredible feeling to the audiences, turning these everyday objects into something disturbing and unnatural for the audiences unlike usual. Let people question the definition of space established in ordinary cognition.


Although these daily necessities may not have inherent beauty or attractiveness, the randomness and absurdity of the combination between them create unconventional narratives that interest me. According to the change of our viewing angle, everything will have different meanings. If decontextualized and deprived of its main characteristics, even the simplest and most obvious items can be changed. Alejo's photography series includes images of suspended balloons, filled sinks and foam-filled bowls. In Chain(2005), he attached small clamps and clothespins of different materials to each other in increasing order of size, so that the smallest holds onto the next larger, and so forth, delightfully reversing the proverb of the big fish gobbling up the small.


Patrick Staff: On Venus

Serpentine Sackler Gallery

8 Nov 2019 to 8 Feb 2020

“On Venus, things are much the same as they are here. On Venus, days outlast years. On Venus, they were once oceans that have long since burnt away.”


On Venus is a site-specific exhibition. After entering the space of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, I can walk on the floor with strong specular reflection under the yellow light, giving me a feeling of walking on the water. The entrance to the space is a gargoyle eroded by acid rain. Acid rain is a symbol of the deterioration of the climate crisis. The entire space has established a set of architectural interventions to transform the gallery space into a leaking place. There are some steel barrels on the ground. Steel barrels are not static sculptures, but are activated through special relationships. The network of pipes suspended from the ceiling slowly leaked the acid into the steel barrels placed on the ground, immediately causing chemical corrosion. Traces of corrosion can be seen in the steel barrels, which are both worrying and poetic, which implies sharing intimate fluids and the spread of uncontrollable network viruses and data.


In one of the spaces in the exhibition, the video looped through scratched, overlapping, and distorted footage, as well as some industrialized animal production footage, including urine, semen, meat, skin, and fur, and some bloody footage. Patrick Staff did not focus on human feelings, but tried to question the limits of humanity, questioning norms, subjectivity and standards, and asking which life is visible in the institutional space (which objects are clearly identifiable), which makes me start to reflect on my own measurement standards and basis, and reflect on whether there is a strong subjectivity in dealing with many things. Another part of the video shown here is a poem describing Venus' life, a non-life state or a strange state close to death, an unstable state.

The Poetics of Space

Gaston Bachelard


When a poet tells me that he "knows a type of sadness that smells of pineapple," I myself feel less sad, I feel gently sad.


This book was first published in 1957. In the atmosphere of late modernist architectural culture suffocating, this book unfolds unique thinking and imagination of architecture from the perspective of phenomenology and symbolic meaning. The author believes that space is not a container filled with objects, but a dwelling of human consciousness, and architecture is dwelling poetics. The most exciting thing in the book is the description and imagination of the intimate space. He pointed out that home is a corner of the world, the imagery of home reflects the imagery of intimacy, loneliness, and passion. We are in the home, and the home is within us. We construct homes poetically, and homes construct us spiritually.


This book is an attempt to "de-philosophize" and "de-analyze" from the phenomenological point of view. It is a primitive extraction of the spatial imagery and a call to the poetic imagination that lives in it. The transition from home space, drawer cabinets, bird nests and shells to corners and miniatures eventually leads to the dialectical relationship between inner space and world space: on the one hand, home space can avoid the fear of the universe as the original space, on the other hand, we remake our home through housework. In fact, the appearance of the home space is still the same kind of external expression of the inner space. The memories and fantasies about the home will be reorganized in the inner space. The inner space has the strength to exist because it absorbs the vastness of the world. The image always precedes the arrival of thought, so the poetic space generated by the poet can free me from the emotional space in the closed psychological sense, and hear the cosmos within the soul. Reading this book is an overwhelming experience.

The Color of Pomegranates (1969)

Sergei Parajanov

The film is partly based on the life of the 18th-century Armenian poet Savat Nova, but the poet's image is replaced by verses. There is almost no dialogue in the film, mainly voice-over and people talking to themselves. The film is full of exciting moments from beginning to end. The poetic language of the film, the bright colors, the strange balance of the composition, the sense of ceremonies in the content, the sense of religion, and the traditional national culture all make the film extraordinary and unique quality. The film uses a lot of symbols and metaphors to show the 18th-century Armenian national style and the poet's journey. Actors, costumes and fine arts have all followed Pa's usual interests: solidification, absurdity, balance, and mystery. The placement of every object in the film is metaphorical and full of visual impact. Appreciating this film is not just a film viewing, but also a pilgrimage. Its unique nationality and worship of poetic spirit make the film become an intercultural dialogue and personal pilgrimage.

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Although the film was made many years ago, its expression still has a profound impact on me. Despite the film's extreme pursuit of form, all elements are still the basis for the concept. It does not allow any irregular movements, nor any emotional projections by actors. It strips the actor's existence as a "person" and treats them as a prop that breathes. This film really makes me feel that the film exists independently as a language and has its own unique expression dimension, because the content of this film cannot be summarized in words, it can only be experienced by watching, everyone can interpret it in their own way. After watching, it is like reading a poem that makes me speechless. Even Parajanov himself said, "I don't understand my film." I randomly choose a point in time to cut in, it still seems to be the first time I watch the film, as if the film I just watched is already a dusty memory. Although I can only guess the various images and metaphors based on my own ideas, I don't feel bored. Every shot is enjoyment. It is really an encyclopedia of my creative inspiration.

"He is like a god to me, a god of the aesthetic, master of style, one who created the pathology of an epoch." -----Pasolini