JULIA ROMMEL: "Fall Guy"
08.11.-07.12.2019 / Preview: 08.11.2019 / 19.00-21.00
"Other than my dog Santa and my sister's cat Triscuit the only animals that enter my apartment come through the windows at night. This summer I woke up to a dead cicada on the rug. If it was ever alive in the apartment, I didn't hear it. Santa had been prowling the place, which was unusual for her, maybe she killed it. But that would be even more unusual for her. This was all unusual. The last time I'd seen a cicada was when the 17-year Magicicadas last emerged, I was living in a basement in Washington D.C., exoskeleton sheds piling up in my stairwell. I remember them crunching under my Dansko's, and I remember a live one flying into my hair as I walked home late from work with a man I was dating. We had a good laugh, and at the end of the summer he wrote me a poem on a greeting card:
'Intercom enter dot com! I heard you were leaving. Don't forget your speakerphone, so you can hear me grieving. When I talk of dragonflies, butterflies, angels, pixies (have you cut your hair yet?) fairies, and all things with wings that I love and admire, is it confusing? It shouldn't be…'
But it was. It is. That was 15 years ago, the 17-year cicadas shouldn't have returned until 2021. But turns out some of them came out of the ground prematurely. I kept the man's poem, which he had illustrated with dragonflies, but I don't know what happened to the man. He was too early an antidote to the D.C. men raging at me nightly at work. I moved to Brooklyn that fall.
Fourteen years later, last September, a woodpecker flew into my apartment. Santa hid in the closet. I reached out to someone I was dating at the time, I thought he would know what I should do about the woodpecker; I thought it might be a special moment for us. He was disappointingly unresponsive. The bird pecked incessantly through the night on the flowerboxes in my kitchen, and flew out in the morning. Soon after the man and I got in a fight about feminism around the Kavanaugh hearings. I didn't stick around to parse any potential nuance within.
I worked on this show between the arrival of the woodpecker and the cicada. Through this summer, painting everyday after walking down 3rd Avenue from my apartment, with the sound of men jackhammering, voices coming at me from political podcasts, the sound of one man on the street laughing so hard when Santa licked his armpit. Outside the Italian social club they always give Santa a treat, a little piece of sausage. There's a man who pets her and says to me, I can count on three things, my dog, my god, and my gun. I walk each night back up 3rd Avenue to meet my friends, and to meet men from the internet, most of them poetic. Down and back each day Santa scavenges chicken bones left by the jackhammerers. I never knew how many chicken wings men ate until she started trying to eat them too."
Julia Rommel, 2019
Julia Rommel (b. 1980, Salisbury, Maryland) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. This is her first solo exhibition at STANDARD (OSLO) following a two-person exhibition with Mathew Cerletty in 2017 titled "Stay-at-Home Dad". Recent solo exhibitions include "Two Italians, Six Lifeguards", The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut; "Candy Jail", Bureau, New York; "Twin Bed", Bureau at Tanya Leighton; "A Cheesecake With Your Name On It", Overduin & Co. Her works are included in the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Installation photography: Vegard Kleven