MEL O'CALLAGHAN, PARADE, 2014, PERFORMANCE AND INSTALLATION, STEEL, ROPE, WOOD, 5 X 20 X 4.5M INSTALLATION 19TH BIENNALE OF SYDNEY AUSTRALIA.
Mel O'Callaghan is an artist who employs symbolic cyclical repetition to examine ideas of myth and ritual as an articulation of the human condition. A series of functional, inert sculptural elements – ladders, weights and pulleys – appear upon a stage, made lively on occasions throughout the day by a group of performers. The intentions of the performers are ambiguous; they engage with one another and the available objects as though acting out an absurd game, the purpose and rules of which are not made clear
Working in a variety of mediums including video and photographic and sculptural installations, O’Callaghan’s art is, in the words of Alexi Glass (Monument, issue 66, 2005): ‘characterised by its attention to detail and ruthlessness in extracting the superfluous to articulate the covert mechanics and poetics of the world …
it is as if she has awoken from 100 years of slumber and, with the precision of an architectural draughtsman, gone about the task of reassembling sites from memory. The outcome is an intuitive fusion of irregularly collegial isms: minimalism, modernism and romanticism.
O’Callaghan was artist in residence at the Foundation and Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, 2000 and the Art Gallery of New South Wales Studio, The Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, 2004.
She has been included in many curated group exhibitions, including, in 2006, the National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia.
'It's a way of looking at society's tendency towards ritual - ritual is about feeling a sense of security in society. I think in watching these endless actions that people kind of fall into this meditative state and perhaps consider their own human condition.''