Mel O'Callaghan: Centre of the Centre


22 Feb –
04 Jul 2020

Monday to Saturday, 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Wednesday, 10.00 am – 8.00 pm
Closed Sunday and public holidays

University of Queensland Art Museum
The James and Mary Emelia Mayne Centre Building University Drive The University of Queensland St Lucia, Brisbane Queensland 4072
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Centre of the Centre, Mel O'Callaghan's new exhibition, traces the origins of life and its regenerative forces. The catalyst for this new body of work is one 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 geophysical conditions and potentialities held within this primordial liquid, the artist invites the audience into a total experience.

The film, sculptures and performance capture the circulatory motion of breath in response to extreme environments. During a three-week mission in the Pacific, Mel O’Callaghan filmed hydrothermal vents in the depths of the ocean using the submersible Alvin with the support of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Using trance induction techniques, performers will also lead visitors through cyclical breathing, either through active participation or observation potentially triggering altered states of consciousness including ecstasy. Investigating the elemental template of life on Earth, the exhibition is a celebration of collective strength through resilience.

Mel O’Callaghan’s Centre of the Centre is co-commissioned by Artspace, Sydney; The University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane; and Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers. 


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