Megan Rooney: The space is the most crucial factor for me when developing an exhibition. It becomes like the skin of a body, holding everything inside of it. The exhibition halls at MOCA have been very generative when thinking about this show. I was immediately drawn to the strong presence of the large concrete columns that stand in the space, and their unique narrative potential. I will be working on-site to create a large-scale mural throughout the entire gallery, making use of all the original walls in the space.
The murals will be born over a number of intense weeks. I spend a lot of time tracking through the space, familiarizing myself with how the space responds to my body and establishing pathways. I work to make the murals entirely on my own. There is no plan, no sketch and no predetermined narrative or image that I work towards. Working in this way involves a huge amount of risk. It exists precisely because of this kind of risk. Painting for me is somehow at its core a dangerous pursuit, because it requires something that I can only describe as faith. I am interested in how colour attaches to memory—how we see colour, how colour affects us. I believe these marathon acts of painting have the power to transport us far beyond the physical boundaries of a single contained space. They become vehicles for communication, for sharing our experiences and connecting us to history, beyond memory and beyond record.
A series of new sculptures will also be made in close dialogue with the existing architecture of the site. I have been thinking in particular about the former life of this factory space, which produced aluminum goods ranging from automotive parts to kitchen utensils. As a response, I have been thinking about the body’s currency and whether or not it has a kind of expiration date attached to it; about the human body as a producer and maker and how it will be viewed in the future; and about redundancy, not only in relation to labour, but also how buildings and architecture can become redundant—the private and personal implications of an ending. The objects and materials I use are ubiquitous and ordinary. I don’t make a hierarchy between materials. I feel there isn’t any inherent truth in materials alone—materials are what you make them do. In the process of building a show, I work intuitively, and I’m ruthless about abandoning ideas if they feel wrong. I’m interested in how materials can be destabilized and how a collection of things bound by place and affinity can produce narrative.