Photo: Katja Illner
Megan Rooney (b. 1985) is an enigmatic storyteller whose work expands across painting, performance, written and spoken word, sculpture, and installation. In mostly site-specific arrangements, she combines the individual components into large-scale installations. Rooney’s references engage with materiality and the human subject and are deeply invested in the present moment: the festering chaos of politics with its myriad cruelties and the laden violence of our society, so resident in the home, in the female, in the body.
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 life and her surroundings. These are whimsical and in some cases grotesque everyday experiences, humorous observations, as well as gloomy scenarios, and passionate color compositions.
A constitutive and recurring element in Megan Rooney’s works is the human body, which can be seen as the subjective starting point and final place of sedimentation for all these experiences. Her paintings and installations are populated with peculiar characters, body parts, and faces that raise questions regarding the vulnerability and the infirmity of the body as such and the female body in particular. The artist’s use of materials also reflects her interest in our actual and daily surroundings: Household items such as cleaning rags encounter materials used to close off construction sites; industrial barrels, dog toys, or golf clubs are combined with found objects from the urban space. Small heroics and objects that we tend to overlook take center stage in Rooney’s work while she is carefully mapping the exterior and interior landscape of our society and strengthening our sensitivity for everyday epics.
Rooney’s work has been exhibited widely across Europe, most recently at the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Tramway in Glasgow, and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Fire On The Mountain is Megan Rooney’s first institutional solo exhibition in Germany. Specifically for the space of the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, the artist created a new body of work centered around a large-scale, site-specific mural seventeen by eight meters in size.
An additional component of the exhibition is the three-part performance series EVERYWHERE BEEN THERE, which Rooney developed in cooperation with the choreographer Temitope Ajose-Cutting and the musician Paolo Thorsen-Nagel. The performance will premiere in three consecutive chapters on 24, 25, and 26 May 2019 in the exhibition space.
Curated by Anna Lena Seiser
The exhibition is accompanied by Megan Rooney’s first monograph, with texts by Emily LaBarge (author and professor at the Royal College of Art in London) and Quinn Latimer (art critic and editor of the documenta14 publication series “SOUTH”), among others.