CREATIVE INSTALLATION ON KILDARE STREET
When I first saw these sculptures I thought that they had something do do with Halloween so I was described that they were made from metal.
Neopets is a virtual pet website. Users can own virtual pets and buy virtual items for them using one of two virtual currencies. One currency, called Neopoints, can be earned within the site, and the other, Neocash, can either be purchased with real-world money, or won by chance in-game
DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL PRESS RELEASE 4 OCTOBER 2022:
Dublin City Council is delighted to partner with The Form Foundation and Société to bring the NEOPETS exhibition, by New York artist Bunny Rogers, to the streets of Dublin. This special 8-week exhibition is part of a new, collaborative effort, led by The Form Foundation, to bring a selection of the most talked-about pieces of contemporary art to Ireland – introducing internationally recognised painting, sculpture and installation art to local audiences and making it accessible to everyone.
The Bunny Rogers NEOPETS exhibition takes place on Dublin’s Kildare Street, Dublin 2 for 8 weeks only, from the 5th of October – 5th December 2022. Three of these Neopets (Techo Statue, Shoyru Statue and Chia Statue) will be on display as part of this exhibition.
The artist, Bunny Rogers takes inspiration from online gaming and digital identities from her youth, to create brilliant, bold sculptures for this show-stopping NEOPETS exhibition. Rogers’ towering bronze sculptures bear resemblance to ornate European gargoyles, but are brilliantly modernised in Rogers’ whimsical and bold artistic style.
Speaking about the installation, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy said, “These NEOPETS sculptures by Bunny Rogers are not to be missed. I’m delighted to see them take up residence in Dublin as a playful animation. The exhibition is sure to be a great addition to our city’s conversation-starting public art scene.”
A major reference for Rogers is the world of online gaming and the malleable identities associated with role-playing and fantasy communities. This interest was not born out of purely conceptual or aesthetic considerations, but instead developed seamlessly from Rogers’ own fascination and involvement with these platforms in her youth. Her first forays into art can be traced to her experiments on the website Neopets.com: an immersive online universe popular in the early 2000s in which children created and tended to virtual pets. For Rogers, spending time on the internet as a child was equated with a freedom from isolation and her work thereby demonstrates an enchantment with online expressions of community. “My Neopets were real to me,” Rogers explains, “I wished that I could visit Neopia and didn’t understand why I couldn’t.”
Rogers describes the process of logging into Neopets after school as “coming alive again.” The connection she felt with the game and its players alleviated the feelings of isolation and loneliness experienced away from the keyboard. “The participation in an online world made me aware of a bigger community,” Rogers says, “and (it) gave me hope that what I was doing wouldn’t always go unnoticed.”
By situating Rogers’ sculptures in the public domain, visitors can tap into an intimate space of memory, fantasy, and identity. The Neopets conceptually emphasise community, collaboration, cooperation, and the power of inventiveness and innovation. These sculptures will heighten observers’ awareness of these qualities, encompassing the ideals of living together as a community and making positive change in the world.
Bunny Rogers (b. 1990, Houston) is a visual artist, poet, and performer based in New York. Her work has been exhibited internationally in solo exhibitions at venues including Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2020); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz (2020); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2019); Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles (2018); Whitney Museum of Art, New York (2017); De11 Lijnen (2016); and Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris (2015). She has participated in group exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2021); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2019); New Museum, New York (2019); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2018); OCAT Shanghai, Shanghai (2018); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek (2017); LUMA Westbau, Zurich (2017); The Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2016); Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris (2016); Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson (2016); and Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, Turin (2015); The Jewish Museum, New York (2015); Luma Westbau, Zurich (2015); Queens Museum, New York (2015). She is the author of My Apologies Accepted (2014) and Cunny Poem Vol. 1 (2014).
Rogers has made a number of sculptural works inspired by the Neopets, which have become one of the most emblematic references in her artistic practice. Although previous works in this series were more modestly scaled, Rogers has recently begun to conceive of these works on a grand scale for public space. She created a towering Neopet sculpture for the 2021 edition of Art Basel Parcours. Enlarged to over three metres, these virtual creatures who left such an indelible mark on Rogers’ consciousness now assume an outsized physical form to meet us away from the keyboard.
The Form Foundation is an organisation conceived to enrich Ireland’s public art offering. It has been established by Richard Bourke and Danielle Ryan. Danielle previously conceived of and founded Dublin’s national theatre academy, The Lir, partnering with Trinity College Dublin and RADA London. After years involved in the art industry, the couple has forged links with some of the world’s most influential galleries. The Form Foundation will collaborate with Irish institutions to bring a selection of the most talked-about pieces of contemporary art to Ireland. Supporting key projects in Dublin’s public galleries and museums, on its pavements and in its squares, it will introduce internationally recognised painting, sculpture and installation art to local audiences that is accessible to everyone.