Engels smoking his signature, signing the universe
Pieter Engels, 1972, 2'35''

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A signature is unique. It can basically only be placed by one individual, which strengthens its uniqueness. If it is well-designed and carried out, it cannot be copied. Present-day society attaches great value to a signature. Not only does it ratify all manner of contracts, but also, all kinds of things can be read into it; status, and even identity. Signatures are graphologically analysed, revealing something about the personality of their owner. An artist's signature has even more to offer, it lends authenticity to the artist's work.
Pieter Engels plays with this actuality. This conceptual video consists of a trilogy which appears to be a statement by the artist about his own work.
It is split up into three actions, which are announced on title pages. Th
first action is the artist placing his signature on a piece of paper. This is announced with the words: 'Pieter Engels places his signature'. Then the viewer is given the information: 'Pieter Engels smokes his signature', and indeed, the artist rolls a cigarette out of his signature, and lights up. Finally, Engels blows the signature that he has smoked into the universe.
No word is spoken in the video, there is no sound at all. In this way, the actions are emphasized even more.


  • Date: 1972
  • Length: 2'35''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: conceptual, performance (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: collage, art, artist, identity, copyright