press release

Megan Rooney. Fire On The Moun­tain

With "Fire on the Moun­tain", in the sum­mer of 2019 the Kun­sthalle Düssel­dorf will host the first in­sti­tu­tion­al so­lo ex­hi­bi­tion in Ger­many of the up-and-com­ing artist Megan Rooney. Born in 1985, the Cana­di­an artist works across a va­ri­ety of me­dia, in­clud­ing paint­ings, in­stal­la­tions, per­for­mances, and lan­guage. In most­ly site-spe­cif­ic ar­range­ments, she com­bines the in­di­vid­u­al com­po­nents in­to large-scale in­stal­la­tions. With a strik­ing sig­na­ture, Rooney de­vel­ops enig­mat­ic and al­ways in­tense nar­ra­tives, which vis­i­tors are free to com­plete them­selves.

Af­ter grow­ing up be­tween South Africa, Brazil, and Cana­da, Rooney has lived in Lon­don for the past ten years. She draws the sub­jects of her works di­rect­ly from her own life and sur­round­ings. These are fan­ci­ful and in some cas­es grotesque ev­ery­day ex­pe­ri­ences, as well as some­times hu­mor­ous ob­ser­va­tions, which she al­ways first “jots down” as draw­ings. A re­cur­ring el­e­ment in Megan Rooney’s work is the hu­man body, which can be seen as the sub­jec­tive start­ing point and fi­nal “place” of sed­i­men­ta­tion for all these ex­pe­ri­ences. The texts writ­ten by the artist, which ac­com­pa­ny the in­stal­la­tions as doc­u­ments, sound­tracks, and—in the case of the per­for­mances—live el­e­ments, of­ten al­lude to in­ner pro­cess­es, sen­so­ry per­cep­tions, and do­mes­tic life. This in­ter­est in the per­son­al, both spa­tial­ly and men­tal­ly, is al­so re­flect­ed in the ma­te­ri­als that Rooney us­es. Her ob­jects and in­stal­la­tions in­clude house­hold items and ev­ery­day ob­jects as well as found items. Based on her liv­ing sit­u­a­tion as an artist in Lon­don (short-term leas­es for af­ford­able stu­dio spaces), in re­cent years Rooney has de­vel­oped a “no­madic” artis­tic prac­tice, as ev­i­denced by her par­tic­u­lar use of vol­umes, among oth­er things: paint­ed ob­jects and fab­rics are stuffed with fill­ing and can thus be un­der­stood as a trans­fer of paint­ing in­to three-di­men­sion­al space. The mod­u­la­tion 18 May – 11 Au­gust 2019

Megan Rooney. Fire On The Moun­tain With "Fire on the Moun­tain", in the sum­mer of 2019 the Kun­sthalle Düssel­dorf will host the first in­sti­tu­tion­al so­lo ex­hi­bi­tion in Ger­many of the up-and-com­ing artist Megan Rooney. Born in 1985, the Cana­di­an artist works across a va­ri­ety of me­dia, in­clud­ing paint­ings, in­stal­la­tions, per­for­mances, and lan­guage. In most­ly site-spe­cif­ic ar­range­ments, she com­bines the in­di­vid­u­al com­po­nents in­to large-scale in­stal­la­tions. With a strik­ing sig­na­ture, Rooney de­vel­ops enig­mat­ic and al­ways in­tense nar­ra­tives, which vis­i­tors are free to com­plete them­selves.

Af­ter grow­ing up be­tween South Africa, Brazil, and Cana­da, Rooney has lived in Lon­don for the past ten years. She draws the sub­jects of her works di­rect­ly from her own life and sur­round­ings. These are fan­ci­ful and in some cas­es grotesque ev­ery­day ex­pe­ri­ences, as well as some­times hu­mor­ous ob­ser­va­tions, which she al­ways first “jots down” as draw­ings. A re­cur­ring el­e­ment in Megan Rooney’s work is the hu­man body, which can be seen as the sub­jec­tive start­ing point and fi­nal “place” of sed­i­men­ta­tion for all these ex­pe­ri­ences. The texts writ­ten by the artist, which ac­com­pa­ny the in­stal­la­tions as doc­u­ments, sound­tracks, and—in the case of the per­for­mances—live el­e­ments, of­ten al­lude to in­ner pro­cess­es, sen­so­ry per­cep­tions, and do­mes­tic life. This in­ter­est in the per­son­al, both spa­tial­ly and men­tal­ly, is al­so re­flect­ed in the ma­te­ri­als that Rooney us­es. Her ob­jects and in­stal­la­tions in­clude house­hold items and ev­ery­day ob­jects as well as found items. Based on her liv­ing sit­u­a­tion as an artist in Lon­don (short-term leas­es for af­ford­able stu­dio spaces), in re­cent years Rooney has de­vel­oped a “no­madic” artis­tic prac­tice, as ev­i­denced by her par­tic­u­lar use of vol­umes, among oth­er things: paint­ed ob­jects and fab­rics are stuffed with fill­ing and can thus be un­der­stood as a trans­fer of paint­ing in­to three-di­men­sion­al space. The mod­u­la­tion from shell to body em­pha­sizes their per­cep­tion as an in­ter­face be­tween ex­te­ri­or and in­te­ri­or.

Af­ter par­tic­i­pat­ing in im­pres­sive ex­hi­bi­tions and per­for­mances at the Ser­pen­tine Gallery in Lon­don, the Mu­se­um of Mod­ern Art in War­saw, and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Megan Rooney will now de­vel­op a com­plete­ly new body of work for her so­lo ex­hi­bi­tion at the Kun­sthalle Düssel­dorf, cen­tered around a large-scale, site-spe­cif­ic mu­ral some four­teen by sev­en me­ters in size. In ad­di­tion, in co­op­er­a­tion with the chore­og­ra­pher Temi­tope Ajose-Cut­ting, a new per­for­mance will be cre­at­ed, whose pre­miere you are cor­dial­ly in­vit­ed to at­tend on the week­end af­ter the open­ing. The ti­tle "Fire on the Moun­tain" is a ref­er­ence to William Gold­ing’s 1954 nov­el Lord of the Flies, in which a group of boys strand­ed on an is­land at­tempt to en­sure their sur­vival and or­ga­nize. The fire on the top of the moun­tain is meant to sig­nal their pres­ence to pass­ing ships, but is ne­glect­ed by part of the group and dies out.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will be ac­com­pa­nied by Megan Rooney’s first mono­graph, with texts by Emi­ly LaBarge (writ­er and pro­fes­sor at the Roy­al Col­lege of Art in Lon­don) and Quinn La­timer (art crit­ic and ed­i­tor of the doc­u­men­ta 14 pub­li­ca­tion se­ries SOUTH).

Cu­rat­ed by An­na lena Seis­er