Callum Morton will represent Australia at one of the world’s premier arts events, the 11th Indian Triennale, with a new collection of digital images pairing Le Corbusier’s iconic architectural designs for Chandigarh with Michael Crichton’s 1974 B-grade sci-fi thriller Westworld. Morton’s Tomorrow Land, opens on 15 January in New Delhi.
In Tomorrow Land, Morton extends his comical and critical examination of utopian architecture by transforming Le Corbusier’s designs for Chandigarh, India into a futuristic virtual theme park, derived from Crichton’s Westworld. This unlikely merger is represented in a model and four digital prints created with 3D modelling software. In Medieval World Le Corbusier’s Palace of Assembly becomes a medieval castle replete with pooling blood in the moat. West World depicts the Secretariat building merged with an old timber fort from the Wild West, smoke rising from within. Roman World shows the High Court, framed by a Roman colonnade and pediment, littered with overturned, crashed chariots. In Tomorrow Land bones lie scattered beneath the Open Hand monument, which points to a deserted Tomorrow Land. The model, Park Towers Westworld, is central to these images and converts Le Corbusier’s Tower of Shadows at Chandigarh into a car park for the attractions of the ‘theme park’.
Australian Commissioner and exhibition curator Stuart Koop said: ‘In Tomorrow Land the grand schemes and high ideals of civic leaders and town planners at Chandigarh are modified in line with a B-grade sci-fi thriller, and the ideal future as it appeared to many in the late 1950s, now lies in embattled ruins in Morton’s work.’
‘It seems fitting that Morton has created this work for the Triennale, considering he grew up with a large photo of the interior of Le Corbusier’s Palace of Assembly in his house as a kid. It may account for his ambivalence toward its idealism,’ Koop added.
For over 10 years, Morton has been creating architectural models that set familiar buildings from architectural history against their original idealised purposes. In earlier works that reference famous architecture, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House has been combined with a convenience store, the Eames’ House combined with a hardware store and Alvar Aalto’s Berlin apartments have been transformed into a Best Western resort hotel.
‘The work provides a context in which to consider Australia, India and myriad other places where architectural styles have been applied in the name of progress and improvement. Morton’s alternative proposals for these buildings suggests an underlying economic imperative for architecture, but also reflects the local, lived experience of this influence,’ suggests Koop.
Morton’s work has been shown widely in Australia, America and Europe, including solo shows at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles (1999), Tommy Lund Gallery, Copenhagen (2000), Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (2001), Karyn Lovegrove Gallery, Los Angeles (2002), Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne (2002), Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney (2003), and Gimpel Fils, London (2004).
Karilyn Brown, Executive Director, Audience and Market Development Australia Council says: ‘The Australia Council is delighted to present Morton’s imaginative and powerful work. This exhibition is a major international commitment, and together with a range of other international visual arts events, like the Venice Biennale, we are taking Australia’s leading visual artists to the world’.
The Australia Council has supported participation by Australian artists in every Triennale since 1971 and was last represented in 2001 by Eugene Carchesio. Previous artists include Simeon Nelson (1997), Peter Atkins (1994), Gareth Sansom (1990), Marion Borgelt and Jenny Watson (1986), Fred Cress (1983) and Robert Hunter (1971).This exhibition is administered by Asialink and supported by the Australia Council–the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body, Arts Victoria, the Australia-India Council and the Australian High Commission, New Delhi.