"I'm no scientist, I'm a tinkerer," so says Swiss artist Roman Signer who creates much of his artwork in his studio, which he calls his "lab," and often embarks on excursions to the Swiss mountains "to conduct larger experiments" (from show's press release) which he documents in video and photographs. Three of these films are currently on view in Four Rooms, One Artist at the Swiss Institute. In one room, videos are projected onto three walls—Shirt (2010) shows a white, button-up shirt traveling up and down a line in a wooded area; Two Umbrellas, Iceland (2008) documents two conjoined, open umbrellas being wildly blown around on a windy, open field; and Office Chair (2010) shows a white office chair spinning around in circles while standing in a river. In another room is Cinema (2010), an installation consisting of rows of wooden chairs lined up in front of wall showing a video of "leftover" footage or "clips of experiments" shot by Signer. A center chair in the back row is rigged with a wire to continually rock it back and forth. Another room features Waiting for Harold Edgerton (2010) a minimal installation showing a single red apple suspended in the center of a white room. The piece references Edgerton, the MIT professor and photographer who was "well known for his speed photography and perpetuated as 'the man who made time stand still.'"
Piano (2010) consists of a grand piano with its top removed and ping pong balls placed on top of its strings. Two oscillating fans sandwich the piano and the breezes they emit move the ping pong balls around causing them to strum the piano strings "creating ambient music." This playful piece is a perfect balance of Signer's curious "tinkerer" and fun "scientist." As Four Rooms, One Artist's curator states, "Roman Signer has been creating unique sculptures for over 30 years, earning praise and recognition all over the world. And he does not seem to run out of ideas." Learn more at swissinstitute.net. Through November 12th.