Mel O’Callaghan works across the mediums of film, performance and installation in a purposefully sculptural manner both allegorically and materially transforming assemblages of gestures, objects and environments into poetic and ritualistic embodiments of the social apparatuses at work in society. She reflects upon the deeply ingrained sets of individual behaviours, psychologies and collective practices that characterise aspects of the human condition. Often focusing on repetitive articulations of the body engaging with its surrounding environment, the artist’s works set in motion a means of understanding an active social body both individually and collectively. Exploring the way experience is articulated and performed, the physical labor may not only be seen as repetitive and violent, but also introspective and meditative. Concerned with the limitations of existence, the work provides a release, allowing the performer to transcend the physical, distancing mentally from the act and the site of endurance. From performances of bodies endlessly repeating action as in Woe Implores Go, 2016; Parade, 2014; Time to Act, 2014, or Endgame, 2012, to works on film such as L’acte Gratuit, 2014; Move, 2010; Chop, 2010 and To the End, 2007, the artist presents corporeal Sisyphean meditations on labor, repetitiveness and gain. These works and others recall fundamental concepts of the absurd which underpin the artist’s practice reminding the viewer of the endlessly changing bodies and terrain of political action and social change. In gesture and motivation her work can be seen as a type of destruction in order to create, mirroring nature’s cycle of death and renewal.


Mel O’Callaghan was born in 1975, Sydney, Australia. She lives and works in Paris, France.
She is the current recipient of the PRIX SAM pour l’art contemporain, 2015. Upcoming solo exhibitions include Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2017) and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2017/18). Recent group exhibitions include, Museum as Performance, Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (2016); Nuit Blanche, Paris (2016). Upcoming group exhibitions include J’ai rêvé le goût de la brique pilée, Centre céramique contemporaine La Borne, France; L’Eternité par les astres, Les Tanneries Centre d’art contemporain, Amilly, France. Recent solo exhibitions include, Time to Act, Museum Medeiros e Almeida, Lisbon (2015); ; Loop, Barcelona (2015); First Street Green, New York (2015) and L’acte gratuit, Galerie Allen, Paris (2014) and Belo-Galsterer Galeria, Lisbon (2015). Recent group exhibitions include, L’art de la Revolte, Musée National d’Art Moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and Centre Pompidou, Malaga (2016); Do Disturb, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2016); Tomorrow in the Battle Think On Me, IAC Institut d’art contemporain, Villeurbanne/Rhône-Alpes, Lyon (2015-2016); Nature/ Revelation, The Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne (2015); You Imagine What You Desire, 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014). Her works has been exhibited in the following institutions, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; The National Museum of Taiwan; Kunstverein Konstanz; AR/GE Kunst Galerie Museum, Bolzano; Artspace, Sydney; Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona; Museu Nogueira da Silva, Braga; Festival Encontros da Imagem, Lisbon; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; Museu Medeiros e Almeida, Lisbon; Maison d’Art Bernard Anthonioz, Paris; Videobrasil 05 15º, São Paulo; Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne; The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Musée départemental d’art contemporain de Rochechouart and Le Printemps de Septembre-à Toulouse. Works by the artist are held in several public and private art collections including FRAC Bretagne, Rennes, France; MUMA Monash University of Modern Art, Australia; Artbank, Australia and the Attorney General’s Department, Australia. She is co-director of Galerie Allen, Paris and a faculty member of The New School, Parsons Paris.


2011 Master of Fine Arts in Research, College of Fine Arts COFA, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
2001 Bachelor of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Design, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
1998 Bachelor Visual Arts with Honours, Sydney College of The Arts SCA, University of Sydney , Sydney, Australia


2017 Dangerous on-the-way, cur. Daria de Beauvais, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
2015 Dangerous looking-back, Belo Galsterer Galerie, Lisbon, Portugal
  Ensemble, solo presentation Loop Barcelona, Spain
2014 Time to Act, Museum Medeiros e Almeida, Lisbon, Portugal
  Ensemble, cur. Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, Osmos, First Street Green, New York, USA
  L'acte gratuit, Galerie Allen, Paris, France
  Belo Galsterer Galerie, Lisbon, Portugal
2013 Ensemble, Belo Galsterer Galerie, Lisbon, Portugal
2012 Endgame, Belo Galsterer Galerie, Lisbon, Portugal
  Move, Museum Medeiros e Almeida, Lisbon, Portugal
2011 Each Mineral Flake Of That Night Filled Mountain, Grantpirrie Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
2010 Each Atom Of That Stone In Itself Forms A World, Grantpirrie Gallery, Sydney, Australia
2008 Topsy Turvy, Grantpirrie Gallery, Sydney, Australia
2007 Landslide , Galerie Schleicher/Lange, Paris, France
2006 The Fall, Galerie Schleicher/Lange, Paris, France
2005 Somewhere, Galerie Schleicher/Lange, Paris, France
  Somewhere, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, Australia
2004 The Fall , Salles E.M. Sandoz M. David-Weill, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France
  The Fall , Annandale Galleries, Sydney, Australia
2003 In The Half Light, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, Australia
2002 The Fly and the Mountain , AGNSW The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  On This Day It Was Cold , Room 35 Gallery, Gitte Weise Gallery, Sydney, Australia
  We Had Walked All Day, Department of Public Works, Sydney, Australia
2001 Vagari, Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, Czech Republic
  Today We Looked At Walls, Sherman Galleries Hargrave, Sydney, Australia
  Mel + Nell , Room Gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2000 Nell + Mel, Stadt Munchen Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  Mel + Nell, Room 35, Gitte Weise Gallery, Sydney, Australia
1999 Nell + Mel , Room 35, Gitte Weise Gallery, Sydney, Australia
1998 Lot, CBD, Sydney, Australia
1997 Illume, 1st FLOOR, Melbourne, Australia
1996 Automate, Firstdraft, Sydney, Australia


Hors-Pistes, cur. Géraldine Gomez, Musée National d’Art Moderne/Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Hors-Pistes, cur. Géraldine Gomez, Centre Pompidou Malaga, Spain
Do Disturb, cur. Vittoria Matarrese, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
Demain dans la bataille pense à moi, cur. Magalie Meunier, Institut d’art contemporain, Villeurbanne, France
Nature/ Revelation, cur. Joanna Bosse, The Ian Potter Museum, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
The Place of Disquiet, cur. Miguel Amado, Third Edition of A3bandas, F2 Galeria, Madrid, Spain
Les Drapeaux, cur. Pablo Cavero, Maison des Arts Malakoff, Paris, France
Les Drapeaux, cur. Pablo Cavero, XPO galerie, Paris, France
19th Biennale of Sydney, cur. Juliana Engberg, 'You Imagine What You Desire', Sydney, Australia
Encontros da Imagem, Lisbon, Portugal
Arcadian Reverie, White Night, cur. Anais Lellouche, Melbourne, Australia
Sinonimos de Perfume, Galeria 102-100 Castelo Branco, Portugal
Paperworks, Belo-Galsterer, Lisbon, Portugal
NATURA, cur. Alda Galsterer, Museum Nogueira da Silva, Braga, Portugal
Jahresgaben, Irmavep, Galerie Melanie Rio, Paris, France
Desire Lines, cur. Juliana Engberg, ACCA Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia
Encontros da Imagem, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, Lisbon, Portugal
The Disorder of the Present Is the Order of the Future, cur. Alda Galsterer, Galeria Belo-Galsterer, Lisbon, Portugal
Livret IV, Musée d'Art Contemporain de Rochechouart, curated Irmavep, France
Desire Lines, curated Juliana Engberg, ACCA Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia
The Rehearsal of Repetition, Grantpirrie Gallery, curated Anja Isabel Schneider, Sydney, Australia
Motion/Pictures, Gallery A.S., curated Joseph Allen Shea, Paramount Pictures, Sydney, Australia
Dying in Spite of the Miraculous, Gurtrude Contemporary Art Space and Melbourne International Arts Festival, curated Alexi Glass, Melbourne, Australia
La Main Numerique, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, curated Dominique Paini, Taipei, Taiwan
La Main Numerique, MABA Maison d’art Bernard Anthonioz, curated Dominique Paini, Paris, France
Event: New Moving Image Works, Artspace, curated Blair French, Sydney, Australia
Fantasmata, Museum AR/GE KUNST, curated Luigi Fassi, Bolzano, Italy
Le Main Numerique, Ecole d’art de la Communauté d’Annecy, curated Dominique Paini, Annecy, France
Hamsterwheel, Printemps De Septembre, curated Franz West and Urs Fischer, Toulouse France
Hamsterwheel, CASM Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, curated Franz West and Urs Fischer, Barcelona, Spain
Vergäleibhaftig, Kunstverein Konstanz, Germany
Vergäleibhaftig, Städtische Galerie Ravensburg, Germany
Vergänglichkeit, Galerie Schleicher/Lange, Paris, France
Phases Of The Moon, Irmavep, curated Laurent Montaron and Caroline Ferreira, Châtillon-sur-Marne, France
Sommerfrische Sehnsucht Nach Dem Paradies, Kunst:raum Sylt Quelle, Germany
Videoformes, Prix de la Création Vidéo, Clermont Ferrand, France
National Sculpture Prize, NGA National Gallery of Australia, Australia
Videobrasil 05 15º, Video Biennale, São Paulo, Brazil
16th Impakt Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Edinburgh International Film Festival, 59th Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh, UK
Helen Lempriere National Sculpure Prize, Melbourne, Australia
Site (Unseen), Sherman Galleries, curated Laura Murray-Cree, Sydney, Australia
A Cut Across, curated Megan Keating, Plymsoll Gallery, University of Tasmania, Australia
That Was Now, This is Then, curated by Alexi Glass Kantor, Gitte Weise Gallery, Sydney,Australia
Printroom , Witte de Witt, Centre for Contemporary Art, curated Karin de Jong, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Printroom, Gurtrude Centre for Contemporary Art, curated Karin de Jong, Melbourne, Australia
Shoproom, Gun Gallery, Oslo, Norway
Shoproom, Room Gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Award, Artspace, Sydney, Australia


The Australia Council For The Arts, New Work Recipient for 19th Biennale of Sydney, Established Artist Category
Cité Internationale Des Arts, Artist Residency, Paris, France
Cité Internationale Des Arts, Artist Residency, Paris, France
The Australia Council For The Arts, New Work Recipient, Established Artist Category
Cité Internationale Des Arts Paris, Artist Residency, Paris, France
National Sculpture Prize, Finalist, NGA National Gallery Of Australia, Australia
Cité Internationale Des Arts Paris, Artist Residency AGNSW, Paris, France
Centre For Contemporary Art, Artist Residency, Prague, Czech Republic
Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Award, Finalist, Artspace, Sydney, Australia
The University of Sydney, Dean’s Honours List, Sydney, Australia
The Australia Council For The Arts, New Work Recipient, Emerging Artist Category


Attorney Generals Dept. ‘Landslide’, The Justice Precinct, Sydney, Australia
Attorney Generals Dept. ‘All In One Day’, Foyer, Trial Courts, The Justice Precinct, Sydney, Australia


Interview of Mel O’Callaghan, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne Australia
Alda Galsterer in Conversation with Mel O’Callaghan, Making Art Happen
Mel O’Callaghan, STUDIO channel, SBS Australia