Roman Signer FilmeAn exploding milk churn, a falling ladder, a subsiding snow field: Roman Signer (Appenzell, 1938) never fails to make you curious about the next experiment. Filme 1975-1989 is a collection of more than two hundred short films. Signer thus concludes a period in which he filmed his seemingly futile experiments with a Super 8 camera, a film technique without sound that was accessible to everyone at that time. The films, which have been in the Kröller-Müller collection since 1994, are now being shown in their entirety after many years.

Witty experiments

Signer's work stems from an inexhaustible and playful curiosity about the effects of an explosion, allowing sand to flow, the physical force of water or releasing compressed air. In his simple, often witty experiments, he uses buckets, bicycles, a red balloon, a suitcase, a kayak. Ordinary objects from his immediate surroundings, which are deformed, broken or disintegrated by the action. He also fabricates small structures or trolleys that collapse under increasing weight, or explode due to strategically placed fireworks.


The films reveal a fascination with the process of cause and effect. There is something useless and nonsensical about the actions, but there is also a certain parallel with nature, which similarly makes no distinction between creation and destruction. The beauty lies in the details and simplicity. The futility, of course, also forms an absurd mirror of our world.

Roman Signer Filme (kajak)Fascination with nature

Roman Signer works as a sculptor, photographer, filmmaker, video and installation artist in Switzerland. After studying at various academies in Switzerland and Poland, he settled in Sankt Gallen in 1972. His fascination with nature is an important starting point for his work, which touches on conceptual art, land art and arte povera. 

The films are being screened in three parts: part 1: 1975-1980, part 2: 1981-1984 and part 3: 1985-1989. 

Overview exhibition