Paul Rooney: La Décision Doypack

For his first exhibition at Matt’s Gallery, and first solo exhibition in London, Paul Rooney has made a new 27 minute film shot on 16mm, La Décision Doypack (2008), co-commissioned by Matt’s Gallery and the Loughborough University Radar programme. A further new commission entitled Failing That (2008), with images and a text written by the artist, will feature in the gallery publication, which is free to visitors throughout the exhibition.

These works approach the subject of historical memory. Exploring the way in which history only properly exists if it is actively recalled in the present, but also how flawed that recollection can be, the works ultimately reveal the comedy and melancholy involved in attempting to represent the past in art.

Both works take politically charged historical moments as starting points and involve real events in their fictional construction. La Décision Doypack is inspired by a real web memoir by retired Australian food-packaging company manager Mackenzie J Gregory, who remembers walking the night-time streets of Paris during the events of May 1968. Failing That uses a moment from an actual documentary about Chile from the mid-eighties, in which an adolescent boy gives a public speech after the death of his father Manuel Guerrero, who had been killed by the military junta.

It is partly because of this connection with real life and real events, events that involve revolutionary turmoil or profound injustice, that the imaginative confabulation and formal artifice of the works themselves is thrown into relief, underlining the pathos and absurdity of our attempts to do justice to the past.

There will be timed screenings of La Décision Doypack on the hour and at half past the hour, from midday until 6pm, Wednesday to Sunday. No booking required.

La Décision Doypack will also be shown at Loughborough University Mon 12 - Fri 26 May 2008, please visit the Loughborough University website for further details