Artist: Callum Morton
Curator: Barbara Flynn
Market Row and Mullins Street, Sydney
Project: City Centre Public Art Program
Tags: Building, Light, Mosaic, Site-specific, Wall work

Artwork Description

Typically, laneways are the places of fire escapes, of service access and rubbish collection, of workers taking breaks, of homelessness, of small boutique shops, cafes or seemingly outmoded retail outlets. In these spaces one can witness the unadorned fabric of the city’s life. The thinking from the outset with these ideas has not been to change this, not interrupt this other life, but simply exaggerate it – make it more mysterious, revelatory and curious.

Callum Morton, 2021

In Through the Out Door reimagines 3 rear doorways in city laneways on Market Row and Mullins Streets. Through the treatment of colour and pattern expressed in tiles and lighting, the artworks will play with the unconscious life of passers-by, testing their memory of encounters with specific, vivid, visual moments in and around the city. At night the artworks will offer another reading, like bright portals into an unknown world.

Morton was inspired by elements he encountered on a series of drifts experienced while walking through Sydney. What he saw – the tile pattern of Utzon’s Opera House, Sol Le Witt’s cylindrical mural in the foyer of Australia Square, the elaborately pictorial floor of the Queen Victoria Building, and the crown of Luna Park – are recombined and applied to rear doorways, embedded into 2 central city laneways.

In the artist’s words, “ … this reinterpreted patterning will describe something strangely familiar, a partial knowingness developed from aspects and views that Sydney audiences might have encountered either incidentally or consciously while walking in the city, or indeed, on visits to other cities that share similar histories.”

The City of Sydney acknowledges the support of building owners who are making this public art intervention possible.

The artwork is expected to be installed in late 2023.


Born in Montreal, artist Callum Morton lives and works in Melbourne where he’s a Professor of Fine Art at Monash Art, Design and Architecture.  Morton is best known for his installation and sculptural works inspired by architecture and the built environment.

He has exhibited widely, including solo shows at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, The Indian Triennale in New Delhi and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne. In 2007, Morton represented Australia at the Venice Biennale with his work Valhalla, a scale model of his childhood home. His public projects include Hotel on the EastLink freeway and Monument Park in Melbourne, the pavilion Grotto in Tilburg, the Netherlands and Sisyphus in Silkeborg, Denmark.

Morton has also designed sets for major productions by Melbourne Theatre Company, Ranters Theatre and Chunky Move.


The city centre public art plan launched in June 2013 is part of the City of Sydney’s $220 million contribution to the NSW Government’s light rail project.

This project has transformed the city with major public domain upgrades, including new infrastructure and the pedestrianisation of George Street, creating a people-friendly city.

New public art created under this plan is enhancing our city’s well-known features, highlighting important places and magnifying ideas that have shaped the city.

This plan, prepared by curatorial advisor Barbara Flynn, contributes to the legacy of permanent public art works in the City Art collection, supporting events and temporary works of art that bring a focus, distinction and richness to Sydney’s civic spaces.

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