Mel OCallaghan whose work could be discovered during the Nuit Blanche 2016 (under the artistic direction of Palais de Tokyo) and at Palais de Tokyo during DO DISTURB 2, in April 2016, is here continuing her reflections about ritual as a form of expression of the human condition, and the processes of selftransformation which emerge from the tireless repetition of the same actions.
For her solo show at Palais de Tokyo
, Mel OCallaghan went to North East Borneo so as to attend the traditional harvesting of birds nests, a particularly dangerous ritual, performed twice a year by the Orang Sungai people, at a height of over 120 meters going up to the summit of Simud Putih, or the white cave of Gomantong. Combining sculpture, performance and video, Dangerous on-the-way focuses more specifically on the ekstasis this ritual induces, that physical and mental state described in Greek philosophy as being outside oneself.
Observation was key. I was conscious of travelling there with no preconceived notions of their people and practices and of what I might achieve. I had no interest in approaching this with an ethnocentric focus. I was not there to tell their story. I was simply fascinated to witness a ritual as a form of artistic practice that appeared in some ways to mirror my own. --Mel OCallaghan
For Mel OCallaghan, the body is a tool which allows us to grapple with the world in general, and art in particular. --Daria de Beauvais
Born in 1975 in Sydney (Australia), Mel OCallaghan lives in Paris. In 2017, the artist will also be holding a solo show at the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia). She recently held a solo show at the Museum Medeiros e Almeida (Lisbon, Portugal, 2015). She participated in the group shows Demain dans la bataille pense à moi, at the Institut dart contemporain (Villeurbanne, France, 2015) and Nature/Revelation at the Ian Potter Museum (Melbourne, Australia, 2015), as well as the Hors-Pistes festival at the Musée National dArt Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris, France, 2016). Mel OCallaghan teaches at The New School Parsons Paris. She is represented by Galerie Allen, Paris, Galeria Belo-Galsterer, Lisbon and Kronenberg Wright, Sydney.
Curator: Daria de Beauvais