Contemporary Art Commission at The Courthouse Museum

9 February 2019 - 31 May 2019

Ripon Museum Trust is delighted to have appointed Paul Rooney to deliver their 2019 contemporary art commission at the Courthouse Museum.

Ripon Museum Trust is building up a strong track record of delivering contemporary art in response to its historic buildings, collections and stories. For 2019, the art commission will be based at the Courthouse Museum, a Georgian courthouse offering an immersive opportunity to discover the history of law and order in Ripon Liberty. After receiving 11 expressions of interest for the commission, a steering group narrowed it down to four artists to interview, eventually selecting Paul Rooney.

Paul Rooney is a Liverpool-based artist who creates music using words, often exploring the themes of music, myth, memory and place. Paul has been commissioned by organisations such as Tate Liverpool and The Drawing Room, has made artworks during residencies at places such as DCA, Dundee and University of Oxford/Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, and has exhibited internationally including in Mexico City and Shanghai. Paul was the winner of the second Northern Art Prize in 2008 and two of his video installations were purchased for the Arts Council Collection in 2015.

For Ripon Museum Trust, Paul intends to create a sound installation based on a child’s experience of a courtroom trial. His work will be inspired by a real trial that took place in Ripon Liberty Courthouse. Paul will record interviews and sound pieces, potentially using the voices of actors, singers, community groups, children, and staff and volunteers from the museum service, meaning the project will be very collaborative in nature. He will then create a musical work that will result in an immersive experience for visitors, with sound resonating from all areas of the courtroom space. This will bring noise, animation and life back into the courtroom, providing a dynamic and emotional experience that contrasts with the formality of the space.

Ripon Museum Trust is passionate about opening up its museums to more people and developing new and innovative ways to interpret our historic buildings and collections. We have received funding from Arts Council England to deliver four contemporary art commissions over the next four years, in order to help us achieve this. Contemporary artwork can provide a different perspective on history and heritage and we hope that these artworks will encourage visitors to experience our buildings and collections in new ways, provoke them to think more deeply about the stories and people connected to them, and challenge their expectations of our museums.

The artwork will be developed over the next two months and will be open to the public from 9 February 2019 at Ripon Courthouse Museum. For more information, contact Leah Mellors, Curator of Ripon Museum Trust on 01765 690799 or email [email protected].

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