Fontana di Piaggio 1995/1997 Langenhagen 1995, Münster 1997, 1995 - 1997

Bétacam SP, PAL, son, couleur

Fontana di Piaggio, as indicated by its title, consists of an aqua blue delivery tricycle with a Piaggio brand two-stroke motor. This archetypal delivery vehicle, devoid of the slightest superfluous luxury, has only a little cabin for the driver and a rear compartment with a tin roof. 
The artist diverted this simple device from its intended function to make a mobile fountain. He installed a metal tub in the rear compartment. A black rubber tube conveys the water from a hydrant to the interior of the tub, whence a nozzle sends it spurting up to drum against the tin roof. The stream disintegrates into a multitude of drops, forming a misty cloud, then the water falls back into the tub. Thence, it glugs through a tube at the back of the rear compartment and flows out from the vehicle in a gentle arc. On the ground, the water forms a little rivulet and disappears into the water system.
In Fontana di Piaggio, the artist virtuosically sculpts the liquid object, displaying its inherent characteristics through the widest possible range of states: strong jet, rebounding drops, curtain of fleeting mist, moving surface, meandering little rivulet. ... We clearly perceive, furthermore, another dimension of the momentary 'form': a sonic structure. Like a sound box, the cabin's hood amplifies the various sonic qualities.
Roman Signer's Fontana di Piaggio has travelled: after Langenhagen in 1995 and Münster in 1997 for the Skulptur Projekte exhibition, it made a long halt in Venice, parked in the inner courtyard of the Swiss Pavilion as a 'permanent event'. This succession of stages is an essential aspect of the piece, underlining its mobility and displaying the paradox of an itinerant fountain. The work plays on the very incompatibility between the static fountain and the dynamic vehicle: a refreshing extension of the tradition of the fountain and simultaneously a nostalgic monument to the Piaggio scooter.

Frédéric Bonnet, "Paroles d'artistes, Roman Signer", Le Journal des Arts, n. 244, 6-19 octobre 2006, p. 13.

Translated by Phoebe Green