25th January 2008 — 15th March 2008
'Chairs', is the first work that you encounter on entering Hauser and Wirth's main gallery space housed in a former bank premises. A red self-automated lawn mower happily roams across the parquet wooden floor until it comes into contact with a gallery visitor or one of the fifteen black chairs, which have been placed in the space. I watched for some time as the mower battled back and forth amongst the chairs and at one point getting caught between the chair legs, dragging the chair for a short distance before freeing itself and continuing on its path. The machine adopts almost humanistic qualities, the struggle of the mower coming up against life's obstacles, and overcoming them.
In the basement, is 'Bottle'; a half full whisky bottle attached to the ceiling by a piece of string. It swings in perpetual motion due to the force exerted by the wind from a fan underneath it. With nothing to interrupt its' movements, the work is strangely meditative compared to the erratic movements of the robotic mower upstairs. In a small room off this space, a video projection shows Signer firing a whole barrel of bullets at a tin can whilst having a vibrating slimming machine strapped around his waist. Trying to keep his aim, his hand jiggles, he misses every shot. The work is called 'Old Shatterhand', referencing the fictional character in the western novels by German writer, Karl May; this enhances the witty placement of the work in the old bank vaults, with the door of the safe hinged open. Going back out through this space, glancing at the swinging whisky bottle, I couldn't help but look at it in a different light, and am reminded of a bar fight in a western film - this being the last bottle standing.
On the mezzanine level of the building are three short videos, 'Helicopter on shelf', 'Water' and 'Hose'. Running simultaneously with each other, they explore and document experiments with the natural flow of water. Turning around to look over the balcony onto the main space, I took delight in the fact that the mower was still reconfiguring the space pushing the chairs around.
Signer's clever subversion on the functionality of machinery challenges and plays with our expectations of the everyday, allowing for the exciting consequences of discovery.
Hauser & Wirth
London W1J 9DY