Sydney Contemporary

Sydney Contemporary returned to Barangaroo for a second year with three leading Australian artists creating large-scale, site- specific works that sat throughout Barangaroo’s commercial, retail and dining precinct.

Callum Morton

Monument #32: Helter Shelter

Monument #32: Helter Shelter is a piece of temporary minor architecture, akin in scale to a bus shelter or a parade float. Half of the shelter bears the unmistakable characteristics of Donald Trump rising out of the ground and the other half forms a space for seating and cover from the weather.

Callum Morton has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1990. Morton’s art explores the personal and social impact of architecture and our built environment. From early drawings of fires and explosions on housing commission flats, to bullet-holed screens, awnings and monuments that memorialise capitalism and outdated forms of modernity, Morton’s works present a melancholic urban archaeology.

He salvages fragments and alters them through camouflage, destruction, the overlaying of sound, and changes of scale, location and material. The highly ambivalent objects that result make us think about the relationship between art and life, history and the present, and look again at the ubiquitous structures we see but rarely notice.

Callum Morton is currently Professor of Fine Art at Monash Art Design & Architecture, Monash University, Melbourne. His works are held in every major state collection in Australia, as well as private collections including those of the Lyon Housemuseum, Melbourne; TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria; the Michael Buxton Contemporary Australian Art Collection, Melbourne; and the Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania.


Breath repertoire, 2018

Performances at 12.30PM on 6, 7 and 13 September
Exchange Place

Mel O’Callaghan presents a breath-work performance for Sydney Contemporary, 2018 activating the public forum at Exchange Place, Barangaroo. A rhythmic breath repertoire, performed by dancers of Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-professional Year 2018 and musicians Clare Cooper and Verna Lee, is choreographed by the intersecting lines of the forum and accompaniment of a percussive harp. Considering the rich history and contemporary significance of the Barangaroo site, Mel O’Callaghan asks how a poetry of the body in highly urbanised space might play out, informed by the primal breath as an elemental form of knowledge and knowing.

Mel O’Callaghan often transforms assemblages of gestures, objects and environments into poetic and ritualistic embodiments using sculpture, film, performance and installation to explore the ingrained sets of individual and collective practices, psychologies and motivations that characterise aspects of the human condition. Repetitive and even forceful physical action may be seen as a virtuous struggle towards a threshold in order to transcend physical and psychological limitations.

Exploring ritual and its role in attaining transformative states, the artist looks to the body as the site where not only physical labour is articulated and performed but also where introspection, meditation, and revelation as action occur. The works behave as tools and triggers, indicating the potential for collective transformation via endurance and resilience. They ask how such transformation might be achieved and, importantly, to what ends. In both gesture and motivation, Mel O’Callaghan’s work can be seen as a type of destruction in order to create, mirroring nature’s cycle of death and renewal.

Mel O’Callaghan is an Australian visual artist who lives and works in Paris and Sydney. Her works have been shown internationally in major institutional solo exhibitions including most recently ‘Dangerous on-the-way’, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2017), and ‘Ensemble’, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne (2017). She has been included in numerous group exhibitions, most recently at Museu de Serralves, Portugal (2017) Gillman Barracks, Singapore (2017); and the Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, France, and Spain (2016).

Born 1975, in Sydney. Lives and works in Paris and Sydney.


Remote Sensor, 2018

Cameron Robbins works to make tangible the underlying structures and rhythms of natural forces. Using his wind-powered drawing instruments on site, Robbins’ installation transcribes the invisible energies of nature, the wind, and light to create drawings, photographs, and moving image works along the foreshore of Barangaroo.

Cameron Robbins has a studio- and travel-based practice, making installations and exhibitions in art centres and other sites in Australia and around the world including Japan, Norway, Switzerland, South Korea, China, Denmark, Germany, and the UK. In 2016, Robbins presented at Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Tasmania — the first solo exhibition by an Australian artist at MONA. Occupying nine galleries within, and installations outside the Museum, Robbins’ exhibition Field Lines sampled the span of his drawing practice, alongside sound and video work, photography, installation and sculpture.

Robbins has recently completed a major permanent work at MONA, Wind Section Instrumental, a 50-year wind drawing project installed in and outside of the Roy Grounds library. Robbins lives and works in Castlemaine, Australia. He is represented by MARS Gallery in Melbourne, and Stockroom in Kyneton, Victoria.


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