Cal­lum Morton

3rd March – 23rd April 2016
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Cal­lum Morton’s work Recep­tion (2016) in many sens­es epit­o­mis­es his long explo­ration of the archi­tec­tur­al mise-en-scene.

A one to one repli­ca of the recep­tion foy­er of the gallery (designed by Den­ton Cork­er Mar­shall in 1993) has been placed half way down the main space fac­ing the audi­ence. There is a door­way in one of its side­walls that leads the audi­ence behind the work. This recon­struc­tion dupli­cates the space but equal­ly the sense one has of being on a thresh­old or a bor­der, one that you must pass through on the way to the real encounter in the space beyond.

Stand­ing at the edge of the recep­tion desk is an ani­ma­tron­ic fig­ure of the gal­lerist, Anna Schwartz. The fig­ure is a bit wrong. It begins with a tremu­lous robot­ic greet­ing, cor­rects itself, gets a bit stuck and con­fused, and fin­ish­es by direct­ing you through the door toward it’ in the space beyond. This dia­logue infers ques­tions about access and com­mu­ni­ty and about the con­nec­tions between the par­tic­u­lar dynam­ics of the art world and their rela­tion­ship to the world outside.

Morton’s long­stand­ing inter­est in archi­tec­tur­al mod­els has engaged with the dis­en­chant­ment of the grand nar­ra­tive of archi­tec­tur­al mod­ernism and the ideals they embody. Exam­ples include Unti­tled (2003) based on the Unit­ed Nations build­ing in New York, Melbourne’s infa­mous Gas and Fuel (2002) and his work Val­hal­la (2007) made for the Venice Bien­nale. Mor­ton has con­sis­tent­ly priv­i­leged the peo­ple and sto­ries that shape icon­ic spaces. In his work One to One (2011) he recre­at­ed the fire­place from Hei­de 2, the for­mer house of John and Sun­day Reed, which now forms part of Hei­de Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, and placed it in the con­tem­po­rary gallery. Removed from its con­text, this dis­em­bod­ied object, was ani­mat­ed by a record­ing of a mun­dane con­ver­sa­tion between these two leg­endary sup­port­ers of Aus­tralian mod­ern art in the twi­light of their lives.

In Recep­tion’, Mor­ton has cre­at­ed a piece of melan­cholic the­atre, one that is equal­ly a work of sci­ence fic­tion as it is an inti­mate por­trait of a gal­lerist set in the lim­i­nal world between pub­lic and pri­vate space.


Cal­lum Morton

Recep­tion, 2016
instal­la­tion: mixed media, ani­ma­tron­ic mod­el, cloth­ing, leather boots
344657512 cm
instal­la­tion view: Anna Schwartz Gallery