Biography

Paul Rooney is an artist/musician based in Liverpool, who makes music with words “investigating the intersections of music, myth, memory and place” (The Wire magazine). His installations, videos, writing and records assemble the contrary, unpredictable narratives that haunt particular places, fabricating fragmentary voices that comically and unreliably spook the present from an unquiet past.

He has shown work at Tate Britain; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; The Arnolfini; and Whitechapel Gallery; and has exhibited internationally at places such as Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City); and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid). His works were included in the British Council show Electric Earth: Film and Video from Britain, which toured to eighteen international venues from 2003 to 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); Matt’s Gallery, London; and the Liverpool Biennial.

Rooney has been commissioned by organisations such as Film and Video Umbrella; Cambridge University Museums; and Tate Liverpool; and has undertaken artist residencies at Tate Liverpool; Proyecto Batiscafo, Cuba; New College, University of Oxford; and Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. He was the winner of the second Northern Art Prize in 2008, and two of his installations were purchased for the Arts Council Collection in 2015.

Paul Rooney’s record releases have been broadcast by John Peel (Radio 1), Ian McMillan (Radio 3) and Stuart Maconie (6 Music), and his 2007 post-punk dub 12″ single Lucy Over Lancashire was described by BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley as a “masterpiece”. His latest album is Surface Industries I (2021), the first of two ambient skewed-pop albums focussing on service industries jobs, which is released on Owd Scrat Records, a current ongoing label project by Rooney and other collaborators in which all of the label artists (apart from Rooney himself) are fictional personae with often longstanding and interrelated backstories.