2019 Our Days of Gold, two person exhibition with Daniel T. Wheeler at Italian Cultural Institute in Hamburg, Germany

This two person exhibition which reflects on issues around authorship, collaboration, and the relationship between artists, technicians and technologies. Daniel T. Wheeler is a photographer and an excellent lab technician, well versed in the now rare art of colour printing. He selected and hand printed negatives from Ruocco’s photographic archive, which consists of thousands of images made between 2002 and 2007 and which she has been sharing on Instagram as @ourdaysofgold_film in the past 2 years.

Ruocco is an artist that employs different strategies to outsource artistic decision making and involve other people, machines and technologies into making work with her. She is interested in how contingent constraints, such as an artist’s domestic circumstances and the availability of studio space or equipment, play a role in the emergence of new artworks.
Our Days of Gold was born out of the coming together of the availability of a social media platform, Instagram, that paradoxically fostered the growth of communities around an ‘obsolescent' medium such as analogue photography; and the development of commercial scanner technology so that film negative scanning has become accessible and affordable.

Leaving the digital realm and collaborating with a photographer who still cultivates the skills involved in hand printing, and asking him to print whichever negatives he wanted from those I have scanned and shared on Instagram, was a way to reflect on the technological mediations involved in making and exhibiting photographs today. Wheeler has given his own interpretation of the archive, and he has selected images that document family life and its rituals. His selection is an exploration of gender identity, at the turning points of middle age and adolescence.

2019 Re-imagining Citizenship Activity Station, designed with Zak Jones, Chiara Dellerba and Johanna Hallsten, and Re-imagining Citizenship Activity Book, designed with Carole Thomachot .

Re-imagining Citizenshipis a collaborative project initiated and produced by the Politicized Practice/Anarchism/Theatre Activism Research Groups based at Loughborough University.
The Re-Imagining Citizenship Activity Book/Re-imagining Citizenship Living Archiveforms part of an ongoing dialogue around themes related to art and political activisms. Since 2014, artists, researchers and associates of the three Research Groups have organised events, installations, performances and participatory activities to explore the potential for art practices to re-imagine citizenship. These culminated in a series of activities during Brexit ‘deadline’ week in March 2019.
The Re-imagining Citizenship Activity Bookis a risograph publication designed by Carole Thomachot with coordination by Assunta Ruocco. Thirty contributors have devised a range of different activities, inviting readers to respond creatively to sets of instructions (using text, video, sound or graphics) and upload them to www.re-imagining.org. The book is displayed in the Re-Imagining Citizenship Activity Station, an installation by Assunta Ruocco, Zak Jones, Johanna Hallsten, and Chiara Dellerba. The project is exhibited within the group exhibition Personal Structures, at the Venice Biennale, European Cultural Centre, Palazzo Mora, from 11 May to 24 November 2019.

2018 Co-Working with Things, solo exhibition curated by David Bell
at Martin Hall Exhibition Space, Loughborough with support from Radar

In 1947, artist Anni Albers urged us to consider ‘materials as our co-workers’. In so doing she invited us to develop new relationships with machines, tools, materials and working spaces. This research-based project explores how the things with which artists work can be seen as co-workers. The projects that led its development are based on simple sets of rules derived from what was possible within a particular, contingent context: working at home or in the printmaking workshop. The works are ongoing, and insist on labour intensive relationships with materials, tools and machines arranged within particular furnished spaces.

The most important aspect common to the works is that they are not autonomous pieces produced by an autonomous artist: their dependence on situations, contexts, equipment, and the willingness of others to do some of the work is written within the ‘code’ that structures their ongoing development. The modular installation Vertical Studio is formless, until someone helps to make it by arranging the elements.
Aquatint Etchings is a series of double-sided, multi-layered prints: exhibiting them always involves outsourcing the process of deciding which print is visible, and which is concealed. To make the Photo-Etchings, I asked friends to select from thousands of drawings. Those chosen were then turned into a multiple through the complex photo-etching process which produces uncontrollable variations.

The myth of artistic autonomy is challenged by artworks that depend on contingent contexts and can only emerge from specific arrangements of things. Focusing on the role of things within furnished spaces also reveals the importance of maintenance activities that are not usually seen as part of artistic labour. It is the work of setting up and looking after spaces such as homes, studios and workshops that makes the emergence of new artworks possible.



2015 Heterarchical Archipelago, group exhibition
by c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e at Art Brussels Contemporary Art Fair

For Art Brussels, c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e proposes a ‘re-work’, a group work more than a group show. We invited the 6 artists that we have collaborated with since our opening: Olivia Dunbar, Ninar Esber, Hamza Halloubi, Emmanuelle Lainé, Kato Six, Assunta Ruocco, to participate in a collaborative project, initiated in c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e’s exhibition space during a week long collective work period. The installation includes pieces we coproduced with the artists over the course of the past programme, traces from the artworks’ own fabrication, and materials which sedimented in our storeroom. The aim of Heterarchical
Archipelago is to performatively create a protocol allowing the artists to enter each others ‘black box’ – the intimacy of their practice and media – and see if any of the elements found there stick in order to create new assemblages. A bench by artist Anna Barham, modeled on the gallery’s existing architectural features introduces c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e’s exhibition space as an actor by transposing part of it into the art fair itself. We consider the whole installation a metaphor of recollection, thinking through c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e’s activities. As such, it suggests an artificial re-composition of our first year’s programme, while also enacting the virtualities it still contains.

2015 Manchester Pavilion, group exhibition curated by Bureau at North Festival, Warrington. With Matthew Denniss, Mark Levene, Aaron Rawcliffe. http://warringtonartsfestival.co.uk/event/131

2014 A Record of Unaddressed Activity,
solo exhibition, c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e, Brussels, BE

Assunta Ruocco’s practice alludes to the solitude of materials, to unexcavated, unexploited layers of unclassified minerals, never expecting to be found or perceptively consumed. Ceaseless activity does not add up, as double-sidedness and open-endedness enfold inefficiency and non-productivity
within the material of the work. The objects emerging through her sets of procedures are simultaneously made and destroyed, presented and removed from view. No back, no front, but a sedimentation without strata. http://www.c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e.com/assunta-ruocco-3/

2014 In Conversation, group exhibition,
Bureau Offsite at Touchstones Museum, Rochdale, UK

In Conversation, at Touchstones Rochdale, is an exhibition of new and previously unseen works in drawing, film, print, and painting, by both invited artists and artists represented by Bureau. Curated by Sophia Crilly, the exhibition features works by artists Jacob Cartwright, Daniel Fogarty, Mary Griffiths, Mark Kennard, Tim Machin, Assunta Ruocco, and Evangelia Spiliopoulou. Featuring predominantly abstract works, several pieces in the exhibition are created through the artists’ constructions of their own self-imposed limitations or parameters, ‘rules’ for making art.
Other works evoke a particular feeling, and draw on references from the canon of art history, from the romantic landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, to more recent Modernist tendencies. Some new works are specific to time and place, having been made in response to the exhibition locale of Rochdale, drawing on histories to inspire abstractions.The selected artworks, although diverse in approach and influence, come together ‘in conversation’ to create a dialogue about abstraction, materiality, process and production. Through shared aesthetic considerations and meditative qualities, these contemplative and elegant works can be seen to possess a particular ‘language’.

2013 On Physical Work, two-person exhibition with Evangelia Spiliopoulou, Bureau, Manchester, UK
On Physical Work features new works by Assunta Ruocco and Evangelia Spiliopoulou. Both artists have recently developed practices reliant on, and in response to, external and self-imposed systems and structures. The works in the exhibition deal with process, repetition (cyclical actions or ‘reproduction’) and time, and in relating to manual labour posit the artist as ‘worker’ (or agent).

Assunta Ruocco has a particular interest in the image of Beckett’s Molloy, through certain parallel preoccupations within her own practice; the rigid organisation of a passion, the hard-headed legislative intention that sticks to procedure, an inclination to acknowledge a situation and make do. She draws on Molloy’s engagement with a contingently determined number of objects of the same kind, striving toward the ideal of an automatic circular movement, an assembly line, albeit a non-productive one. Referencing this potential “utopian artist’s studio, a transportable and autonomous studio contained in Molloy’s own body and clothes” Ruocco’s own practice over the past few years has focused on the artists studio, or rather the absence of a studio, as a constraint in the making of her work.
Exhibited for the first time Vertical Studio (ongoing since 2010), consists of double-sided paintings coated in layers of transparent acrylic paint, first one side, and then the other; a daily routine of layering wet paint, drying, layering, in a cyclical sequence using four colours (a process intended to be endlessly repeated).
The moment the paint starts to dry random droplets of water are applied to the surface, resulting in a motif of circular shapes cutting through the colour, allowing the preceding layers of paint and shape to show through. The double-sidedness of the paintings, initiated by a concern for economy, has since revealed an inclination to interrogate their status as aspiring commodities. Displayed or erected as if building blocks, they can be used to construct an aleatory composition, suggestive of a screen and a shelter.

Sophia Crilly