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Roman Signer (Switserland)

Appenzell, 1938

Bidon Bleu

Bidon Bleu is part of a series of interventions which involve Signer launching objects off a slope.

The residue of this sculptural action comprises the physical art work that remains in the museum. It is an enduring memory of a fleeting action for those who were present and a stimulus to spark the imagination of future visitors.

Roman Signer’s work rewrites the definition of sculpture, to which he adds three new dimensions: ‘action’, ‘space’ and ‘time’.

Signer always works according to the same structure, built up in three phases. He begins with the basic form, which embodies the possibility of change. This is followed by action – the actual process in which the change is effected. What remains are the traces: the deformed object or what is left of it.

Time is an important dimension of sculpture to Signer. He deals with it in a variety of ways in his work. Because that work engenders movement, it frequently occupies a considerable amount of space, sometimes that of a museum, sometimes even the distance between two villages.

The austerity of his materials contrasts sharply with the imaginative elaboration of his projects. It is here that the scientist meets the sorcerer’s apprentice. The result is a contrary body of work that does not yield to trends or to aesthetic expectations. With a limited number of constantly recurring elements, Signer creates a world that never ceases to surprise. At the beginning of his career in the early Seventies, he explored the properties of water, sand and stone with almost scientific precision.

During the performance on Saturday, 26 May 2012, a metal barrel was rolled at high speed down a slope, from a height of 15 metres and over a distance of about 35 metres, to explode against a concrete wall at the bottom. A video of the performance can be seen in a display near the work.


Number 56 on the map


  • Bidon Bleu
  • 2012
  • h 2000 cm x w 600 cm x d 3700 cm
  • Concrete, steel
  • MIDW539

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