Roman Signer: “For Water Boots I filled two black boots with water and put a small amount of explosive in them. This is what the water looked like when I fired them electrically. Before starting, I said to Marek, my brother-in-law, who was with me: ‘Stand in front of it and take a picture when it explodes.’ He had neither a tripod nor a motorised camera. He just stood there, pressed the release, and came up with a masterpiece.” Signer’s "action sculptures" involve setting up, carrying out, and recording "experiments" or events that bear aesthetic results. Following carefully planned and strictly executed and documented procedures, the artist enacts and records such acts as explosions, collisions, and the projection of objects through space. Video works like Stiefel mit Rakete (Boot with Rocket) are integral to Signer’s performances, capturing the original setup of materials that self-destruct in the process of creating an emotionally and visually compelling event. Signer gives a humorous twist to the concept of cause and effect and to the traditional scientific method of experimentation and discovery, taking on the self-evidence of scientific logic as an artistic challenge.
Robert Gober: Gober's sculptural works address a variety of formal and humanistic concerns by juxtaposing functionality and dysfunction, and the familiar and the strange. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the series of sink sculptures for which Gober has become well known, such as his right-angle sink Untitled (1984). The sink, a domestically nondescript motif, carries a psychological charge that is at once idiosyncratic and common, mysterious and humorous. The power of this imagery lies in the paradox of the nonfunctional aspect of his sinks; these sculptures suggest the ritual of cleansing while their lack of plumbing frustrates this possibility. Joining this work is another prime example of his "psychological furniture," a distorted children's playpen entitled X Playpen (1987), as well as other domestic objects such as his oversized unwrapped stick of butter Untitled (1993 1994). (left:
Untitled, 1984, plaster, wood, wire lath, aluminum, watercolor, semi-gloss enamel paint, collection of the artist, NY)
In addition to these sculptures and installations, the exhibition also features the most comprehensive selection of Gober's drawings ever exhibited. These works from the mid-1970s to the present provide us with a glimpse of the development of Gober's artistic process manifest in his most persistent visual motifs -- the sink, the drain, the playpen, and the body. Robert Gober: Sculpture + Drawing provides the critical link between Gober's sculptures and drawings, while offering the aesthetic and psychological underpinnings to the work of one of contemporary art's most celebrated artists.
Robert Gober was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, in 1954. He attended Middlebury College in Vermont and moved to Manhattan in 1976. He has exhibited widely since the early 1980s, including solo exhibitions at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris; Dia Center for the Arts, New York City; Serpentine Gallery, London; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Among an array of international group exhibitions, his work has been included in the Venice Biennale , the Whitney Biennial , and in Rites of Passage at the Tate Gallery, London. (left: Untitled, 1990, beeswax, human hair, pigment,
collection of the artist, NY)