Australia’s largest contemporary multi-arts precinct presents a major solo exhibition by acclaimed Australian artist Mel O’Callaghan titled All is Life, which expands on the artist’s continued exploration of the relationship between life and non life.

Presented  21 August 2022, the exhibition, which has been curated by Aarna Fitzgerald Hanley, includes an ambitious sculptural installation activated by performances, a new sound work, and a two-channel film capturing the sacred ritual Dhalo, shot by the artist on a recent trip to Ambaulim, Goa in India.

To understand how the inanimate relates to the animate, O’Callaghan traces cultural practices centred around sites on earth that are said to remain similar to when life first emerged. Looking at the significance of these sites through time, as places to gather and enact ritual, the artist contemplates the generative experience of these practices. Split across two spaces at Carriageworks, All is Life presents a meditation on modes of experience.

Artist Mel O’Callaghan said: “This exhibition is a natural continuation from my previous works that explored the elemental forces involved when life emerged on earth. Starting with the singular impulse of the primordial cell that led to the whole of life on earth, All is Life looks at the individual’s connection to the collective. The communion between life and nonlife is a starting point for considering our connection to each other. All is Life acknowledges our innate desire to be recognised by another. We call out in the hope that someone will respond.”

In a large, cavernous room, O’Callaghan presents a new performance installation and sound work, titled First sound, last sound. The installation features two large-scale fully functioning tuning forks that stand at three metres high and are positioned atop a raised stage. When struck by performers, vibrations from the tuning forks are transmitted from object to the body, through the performer to the audience. Meanwhile, the sound work resonates throughout the space, playing the ‘pulse of the earth,’ which is a recording of vibrations taken from the earth’s core.

In another room, ideas of connection extend to the artist’s poignant new two-channel video that documents the eco-feminist festival Dhalo in India. Filmed in collaboration with the Velip women of Ambaulim in Goa, their ritual storytelling, through song and dance, plays out around a central mound made from earth in an act that preserves both culture and nature. The film is accompanied by a series of interviews recorded during the artist’s trip to India.

Carriageworks CEO Blair French said: “We are honoured to present this significant project by Mel O’Callaghan. The exhibition is the result of extensive, collaborative research and offers audiences a truly unique and profound immersive experience that on an expanded spatial scale offers a way to consider our relationship to one another.”   EXHIBITION DETAILS:

Mel O’Callaghan: ALL IS LIFE

Till 21 August 2022

ALL IS LIFE is open free to the public at Carriageworks from Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm, with performances each Saturday.

Carriageworks is located at 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW 2015