Kitfox Experimental: A site-specific installation by Roman Signer opens at KINDL-Centre for Contemporary Art

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Kitfox Experimental: A site-specific installation by Roman Signer opens at KINDL-Centre for Contemporary Art
Roman Signer, Kitfox Experimental, 2014. Installation in KINDL’s Kesselhaus (Boiler House). Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin.

BERLIN.- KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art is now opening its first exhibition space in the Boiler House of the former brewery complex in Neukölln. Large-scale refurbishing of the South House and the Power House is still under way – here a café and exhibition spaces on three levels for temporary exhibitions of international contemporary art are in the making. The impressive, almost 20-meter high Boiler House is ready to go, and KINDL is kicking off with a bang, with Kitfox Experimental, a site-specific installation by Roman Signer.

Roman Signer is considered one of the most innovative sculptors working today. The piece he made to close documenta 8 in 1987 in Kassel is still unforgotten. In just a few seconds he “destroyed” a strict arrangement of stacks of paper by setting off explosives that sent them up into the air a thousand sheets at a time, and then watching them fall back to the ground gently and randomly. Roman Signer’s concept of sculpture includes process and change. His very complex and diverse work again and again takes a look at notions of time, at the transformation of materials, and at the visualization of natural forces. Signer’s artistic oeuvre expands traditional forms of sculpture, and many of his works consider very existential issues with a complete lack of pathos.

Kitfox Experimental is the title of the work that Roman Signer has especially created for the massive cube-shaped Boiler House at KINDL. “Kitfox Experimental” stands for a particular type of aircraft, which the artist uses in his installation. In the publication that accompanies the opening of the show, Roman Signer gives a brief description of his work: “An airplane hangs about four meters above the ground with its nose pointing downward – a lightweight aircraft. Then there are powerful fans on the walls that cause the plane to move, since it is hanging from a joint that can be turned very easily. And so the wind is supposed to cause the airplane to turn, as if it were spinning in a nosedive as it plummeted downward.” Concrete physical experience is an essential component of Roman Signer’s work. The characteristic background noise of the two fans and the non-stop spinning plane lead to a kind of spatial suction that is impossible to resist – both meditative and discomforting, overwhelming and threatening.

In future, KINDL will invite one artist per year to design a site-specific work for the Boiler House. In the 1,200 m2 space of the Power House, one monographic and one thematic exhibition will be on show simultaneously.

Roman Signer, born in 1938 in Appenzell, lives in St. Gallen. His work has been shown in many international solo and group exhibitions, including documenta 8 (1987) and Skulptur Projekte Münster (1997). In 1999 he designed the Swiss Pavilion at the 48th Biennale di Venezia. Presently, a large Signer exhibition is on show at Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, focusing mainly on more recent sculptures, installations, and video works (until October 26, 2014).

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in cooperation with Kunstmuseum St. Gallen. This publication is designed as a reader, a first collection of texts written at different times by several authors on a variety of themes relating to Signer’s work.

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