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Callum Morton: More Talk about Buildings and Mood

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


28 Oct 2003 to 26 Jan 2004

Guest Curator: Stuart Koop

about the exhibition

Callum Morton: More Talk about Buildings and Mood focused on Callum Morton’s architectural models from the previous four years, highlighting his strategy of injecting wry humour and cinematic drama into iconic architecture, critiquing its utopian intentions.

Since the early 1990s Morton has been constructing architectural fragments and models whilst producing richly coloured digital images that bring together ‘high’ and ‘low’ architecture. The tension between theory and practice, art and life is examined through the ways that architects design our social environment and how people actually utilise buildings. This slippage provides a rich source of material for Morton, who animates his models with sound and light to create vivid narratives of human frailty.

This solo exhibition presented key works from the previous four years as well as a number of new works, including Gas (2003), based around Philip Johnson’s iconic Glass House from the late 1940s and Untitled (2003), based on the United Nations building in New York. The exhibition also included Habitat (2002), a 1:50 architectural scale model of a mass housing project built in 1967 in Montreal, Canada, by Israeli architect Moshe Safdie.

In these endeavours, Morton appeared to be an iconoclast, ultimately critical of the utopian ideals that these remarkable buildings embody, undermining their seriousness with dramatic and often humourous narratives drawn from life, movies, books or his own experience. The ideal world composed by architects was filled with grisly ends and grimy details: death, S&M, conflict, loss, annulment. In doing so, Morton rendered an alternative, corrupted architectural history, and the pristine, empty, quasi-sacred spaces of the world’s renowned buildings were filled to bursting with all sorts of profound events.

This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of MCA Ambassadors.