Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Paul Rooney – Here Comes Franz, VG&M Liverpool

There's a moment in Paul Rooney's film 'The Futurist' where the main character recounts a story about being transported to a new land on a slave ship. Though it's apparent that this character has never experienced these events, he is clearly haunted by them.

This sense of been haunted permeates Paul Rooney's exhibition at the VG&M. A haunting brought on perhaps by the conflict between the layers of meaning that we subject the world we inhabit to. Whether we attribute these meanings to a historical, cultural or personal context there would seem an inherent issue to applying these tags to one place. It would appear to become some act of magick and ritual of sort in order to solidify a sense of meaning in the world around and through that a sense of meaning within ourselves.

In the piece Small Talk, a piece of liminal space, in this case an petrol garage on the edge of a field. The act of filming and the act of watching imbues that footage with meaning. Of course this meaning is subjective provided in part by the narrative subtitles which reference films (in this case a scene in the The Umbrellas of Cherbourg set at a garage) I guess this another case of apophenia the need to find meaning in unconnected things. This isn't a bad thing it can provide the world with a sense of magic and wonder, for example the shot of a waning moon over the garage edges the mundane with the sense of the supranational.

There is the sense of the supranational within this exhibition, in this case when I mean supranational I'm thinking of the world of David Lynch or of Kurbick's The Shining. How else could a tree tell of its own destruction? Rooney's work is about the worlds between worlds (the German's call it zwischenwelten) of people and objects that are at once trapped and liberated by their situations allowed to be defined by and define the limits of their worlds.


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