The Box selects artist Paul Rooney for IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund commission

The Box selects artist Paul Rooney for IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund commission

2 April 2024

The Box has chosen artist/musician Paul Rooney for a new commission that explores the concept of home during a time of conflict, from the Falklands Conflict of 1982 up to the present day.

The commission is part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, a national partnership programme led by Imperial War Museums which includes more than 20 artist commissions inspired by the heritage of conflict. The Fund was created following the success of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary, which ran from 2014-2018.

Although based in Liverpool, Paul will be working closely with a group of Plymouth veterans who were heavily involved in the artist selection process. He will also work with local creatives and musicians to realise the commission. He will also spend time at The Box where he’ll be given access to the city’s historic collections as part of his research.

The film Paul hopes to create will feature images of domestic spaces, familiar places and objects that are important to the veterans. These will be set against their recollections set to a melodic folk ballad.

Artist Paul Rooney (left) and members of The Box's veterans group

Paul, whose installations, videos, writings and records, often focus on everyday life, was selected following a highly competitive open call in late 2023. His film will go on display at The Box in autumn 2024.

Project lead, Jodie Bishop said:

We had a fantastic response to our artist call out and it was really interesting to see the different ideas that came through in response to our brief,” said project lead Jodie Bishop. “Paul has a great deal of experience in creating works that combine music, voice, archives and objects which makes him an ideal choice for a project of this kind. His works also have a strong focus on real life – something which is extremely important to the veterans who are involved and because of the themes we’re dealing with which draw on people’s lived experiences.

Our veterans group has already developed a great rapport with Paul. It’s going to be a really rewarding process for us all as we work together throughout the spring and summer, ready for the final presentation of Paul’s commission at The Box later this year.

More about artist Paul Rooney

Based in Liverpool, Paul Rooney has shown work at Tate Britain; Tate Liverpool; BALTIC; The Arnolfini and the Whitechapel Gallery; and has exhibited internationally in Mexico, Italy, Germany and Spain. His works were included in the British Council’s Electric Earth: Film and Video from Britain, which toured to eighteen international venues from 2003-2006; and British Art Show 6, which toured around the UK in 2005-2006. He has had solo exhibitions at Site Gallery, Sheffield (with Susan Philipsz); Kino Arsenal, Berlin; firstsite, Colchester; Matt’s Gallery, London; and the Liverpool Biennial.

Rooney has received a number of commissions and undertaken artist residencies in Rome, Havana and Berlin. He’s been awarded fellowships at Durham University; University of Dundee; University of Oxford; University of Melbourne and the University of Wolverhampton. He was the winner of Art Prize North in 2003; the second Northern Art Prize in 2008; while two of his installations were purchased for the Arts Council Collection in 2015. His work has also been broadcast widely including by John Peel (Radio 1), Ian McMillan (The Verb, Radio 3), Huw Stephens (Radio 1), Stuart Maconie (6 Music) and Tom Service (Music Matters, Radio 3).

Find out more about Paul on his website and Instagram.