Stolen Things focuses on the 'voice' of 14 year's old Ann Lupton, a former defendant accused of shoplifting in 1853. The artwork's spoken and sung words and sounds are created using a variety of courses including the childhood memories of Ripon Museum volunteers, the chords of the Taylor Swift song and a Victorian children's hymn. The sound composition invokes the shots of the courtroom public and Victorian church singing to build to a rowdy evocation of some liberatory mischief.
Tessa Norton of The Wire Magazine reported that Stolen Things 'buzzes with exuberant crowd noise, while naive unaccompanied singing blends into robotic contemporary vocals'. “The collage is underpinned by tensions between masculine and feminine voices, and the world of the child and the adult. Propelled by a youthful joyfulness, it sounds as though there's a joyous energy in resisting authority and oppressive power structures. But then, as quickly as it began, something breaks. Its teenage energy runs out, gets crushed and, as it winds down, something in the sonic collage creaks to a tired conclusion, like a child's broken toy that can only sustain its exuberance for so long. It's a genuinely poignant ending to a work which could only exist in such a brutally, painfully nostalgic setting.”
Venue: Courthouse Museum, Ripon, 9th February – 31st May 2019. Entry to Stolen Things is included in the usual museum entrance fee. The Courthouse Museum is open 7 days a week 1pm – 4pm and 10am – 4pm during school holidays.
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 Tate Liverpool and The Drawing Room, and residencies at places at DCA, Dundee and University of Oxford/Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. He has exhibited internationally including in Mexico City and Shanghai. Paul was the winner of the Northern Art Prize in 2008 and his work is in the Arts Council Collection.