With the Centre of the Centre exhibition tour about to launch at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, we visited Mel O’Callaghan at her studio to discuss her work.
Centre of the Centre is a major new commission that traces the origins of life and its regenerative forces, iterated through video, performance and sculpture. The exhibition was presented at Artspace, Sydney in 2019 and at The University of Queensland Art Museum in 2020-2021.
The Australian-born, Paris-based contemporary artist works across film, performance, installation and painting. This ambitious new commission offers O’Callaghan an opportunity to further explore her ever-expanding fields of influence and demonstrates the remarkable range of her artistic practice. Centre of the Centre will be O’Callaghan’s first largescale exhibition in Australia. The exhibition comprises three distinct yet interrelated works – a large-scale video work, a performative aspect and selected glass sculptures.
The catalyst for this new body of work is a small mineral given to the artist by her grandfather, renowned mineralogist Albert Chapman. The mineral contains a small pocket of water, possibly millions of years old, which holds traces of the elemental forces responsible for all life on earth. Inspired by the potentialities and extreme conditions within this primordial liquid, the exhibition submerges the audience in a highly visceral experience through sensory breathing techniques and experiential performance.