Victorian artist Callum Morton has built an outstanding international reputation based on his intriguing large scale sculptural works. Inspired by his architect father and informed by Bachelors in Architecture and Urban Planning and Fine Art (the latter at the Victorian College of the Arts), Morton's works investigate the relationship between interior and exterior space, treating buildings as a kind of living memory.
Since 1997, Morton has benefited from a series of grants through Arts Victoria's funding programs. In 2007, he received international funding to travel to Italy and represent Australia at the prestigious Venice Biennale with a haunting work, Valhalla, a three-quarter scale replica of his childhood home designed by his father, after a fire. The piece was later rebuilt on the Arts Centre Melbourne forecourt as part of the 2009 Melbourne International Arts Festival.
It was at the Venice Biennale that Morton met the directors of the Lustwarande festival, a major arts event held every four years in Tilberg, The Netherlands. He was invited to create an architectural piece for the festival, a pavilion which would sit in the middle of Tilberg's baroque woodland park - the centrepiece of the 2009 festival.
With the help of Arts Victoria funding, Morton designed a stunning building for Lustwarande called Grotto.
During the day, its sleek lines and mirrored surfaces reflect the lush surroundings of Tilberg's three hundred year old gardens. At night, interior lights reveal a rocky façade trapped behind glass walls. Grotto is also functional, serving as a café, bar and performance space.
Callum Morton, Grotto, Tilberg, The Netherlands, 2009
Grotto opened on June 29, 2009 and was quickly embraced by the people of Tilberg. It has become a popular meeting place, restaurant and live music venue, long outlasting the 2009 Lustwarande festival season. The structure currently has a five year permit to remain in the park and a 'Society to Preserve the Grotto' has been formed to preserve the space well into the future.
In 2010, Morton's Silverscreen, a permanent public sculpture commissioned by Marc and Eva Besen, was unveiled at the new Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA). Taking inspiration from drive-in cinema screens, Silverscreen provides a bold identity for MUMA and a ceremonial entry for visitors. The work is over 20 metres high and constructed from galvanised steel and LED lights.
Callum Morton, Silverscreen 2010. Photo: Greg Ford
Morton's works have intrigued audiences in Melbourne and Sydney, London and New York; and in countries including India, Korea, Lithuania and Turkey.
With support from Arts Victoria, Morton has become one of Victoria's most renowned and successful artists, both locally and internationally, and when viewing his installation Hotel along the EastLink Freeway in Nunawading it is clear why. Similar to Morton's canon as a whole, Hotel is thought-provoking, accessible and engaging, influenced by architectural and sculptural form, yet forging its own monumental path.