Is art an explosion

«Art has to be explosive»

«Art has to be explosive»

Art in public space stirs up conflicts because you cannot escape it. The “neurotic art collector” Peter Nobel spoke out at the HSG in favor of explosive public art. What Roman Signer then put into practice.

Eight golden blocks the size of a package lie in a circle in front of the HSG, around 200 spectators - or rather gawkers, because they are all longing for the big bang that was promised them. Roman Signer, a St. Gallen action artist with a penchant for gossip, obviously doesn't think much of dramaturgy and ignites his explosives completely suddenly into the chat of the crowd. No prior warning to cover your ears, rather taciturn explanations afterwards: Signer was as usual weird on Monday evening when he was giving the final lecture of the HSG series "Who Owns the City?" ended with an art action.

Fascinating explosions

He had blown up eight blocks of modeling clay in their original packaging. “I'm fascinated by the change that an explosion can cause in materials,” he says as he rolls up the ignition cable. He takes the broken clay blocks home to dry them. A sculpture was created within a few moments.

Although Signer says he accepted “on a whim” and did not focus on the lecture topic, his campaign perfectly complements the performance of the self-titled “neurotic art collector” and HSG professor Peter Nobel: his lecture on “Art and culture in public space »Had previously ended with the demand that art must remain« explosive »- also and especially in public spaces. "Otherwise mediocrity rules," warned Nobel. And mediocrity does not create a debate, which is the basis of democracy.

Force to confront

According to Nobel, disputes about art inevitably arise “simply because there are no objective standards for the quality and acceptance of art”. This debate becomes even more acute when art is displayed in public spaces. “Because there you can't escape it. Every city dweller is inevitably confronted with the art object. " The potential for conflict that arises from this can be clearly observed in St. Gallen when Roman Signer set up his water tower fountain in Grabenpärkli in 1987: "Opponents and supporters fought bitterly." What was more amusing in retrospect showed something that still applies today: “Art is often incomprehensible and avant-garde. And it has to be like that. "

Despite these somewhat theoretical considerations: Nobel, the experienced professor at the lecture desk, immediately picked up the audience with his dry sense of humor. And, although Zurich has been the center of his life for many years, he showed a connection to his hometown St. Gallen: “Literature is part of the art of a city. Meienberg, for example, wrote so pointedly about St. Gallen that it still has an impact today. "