Spring/Summer 2023 Exhibitions Launch at Esker Foundation

We are pleased to present our Spring/Summer 2023 Exhibitions: Pulse of the Planet by Mel O’Callaghan; in the Project Space, A provisional vista by Morgan Melenka until 18 June; and upcoming in the Project Space, asmaa al-issa’s exhibition bab el-soosa | باب السوسة opening on 26 June.

Join us to celebrate the launch on:
Friday 26 May, 2023, 6-9pm, all welcome.

Mel O’Callaghan, First Sound, Last Sound (performance), 2022. Installation view, All is Life, 2022, Carriageworks, Sydney. Photo by: Zan Wimberley.

Mel O’Callaghan
Pulse of the Planet

27 May – 27 August, 2023
Co-curated by Peta Rake & Shauna Thompson

Pulse of the Planet is a major solo exhibition by Paris/Sydney-based artist Mel O’Callaghan that synthesizes several years of collaborations and ways of knowing. For the last twenty years of her practice, O’Callaghan has explored resonant objects, spaces, and tools—namely how they affect, codify, and connect bodies. By working alongside experts in other fields, O’Callaghan seeks to pose new questions through her artistic practice, to highlight the natural synergies between disciplines, as well as to focus attention on how highly curious researchers reciprocally approach complex questions about our human existence.

The exhibition brings together a chorus of works: performance, sculpture, painting, film and soundworks, that begin at the planet’s very depths; at a site from which all life is said to have emerged kilometres below the surface of the ocean. O’Callaghan’s collaborators recently made a hydrophone recording at the Axial Central Caldera, East Pacific Rise—a site on the floor of the Pacific Ocean at the boundary of diverging tectonic plates—which captured vibrations beneath the planet’s surface, a phenomenon often referred to as the Earth’s heartbeat. Previously, these vibrations were emitted at a constant low frequency of 7.83 hertz, but in recent years scientists have witnessed an increase to 8 hertz. This acceleration reinforces the complex planetary changes that are currently afoot. We might understand this shifting, pulsing vibration as a bodily connection with all life, both on a microbial and an immensely geologic scale, that underscores a universal resonance that transgresses global borders.

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First Sound, Last Sound
At the centre of the exhibition is a durational performance, First Sound, Last Sound featuring two large-scale tuning forks installed on a resonant chamber. When played, the tuning forks emit a fundamental note that creates a sympathetic call and response, which on a cellular level is in solidarity with the heartbeat of the Earth. During a series of performances performers and audience members become conduits for sympathetic sound and are called into awareness of their own somatic rhythms.

This durational live performance will continue throughout the run of the exhibition with the following schedule:

Saturdays: 2–2:30 PM – 27 May, 24 June, 22 July, 12 August.
Thursdays: 6–6:30 PM – 15 June, 6 July, 24 August.

Installation view of Morgan Melenka’s exhibition A provisional vista. Photo by: John Dean.

Morgan Melenka
A provisional vista

Until 18 June, 2023
In the Project Space

A provisional vista offers a collage of forms that reference architectural and decorative elements commonly found in our contemporary built environment, such as bollards, awnings, wind-resistant mesh banners, and ornamental architectural facades. Positioned throughout the exhibition space in layers, these seemingly benign objects signal, in various ways, ideas of transition, aspirational living, commercial encroachment, and the hidden-in-plain-sight historical legacies entrenched within the spaces we inhabit.

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Courtesy of the artist.

Asmaa al-issa
bab el-soosa | باب السوسة

26 June – 15 October, 2023

“Red water and red sun dissolve behind green branches, the earth moist with water from the shore, you hear its joy between your footsteps, perfumed air surrounds you, a bed of fronds and reed await you, you are the tired guest arriving, a carpet of grass spread under your feet…”

Excerpt from “Before Basra’s Ruin: Biography of water and date palms” by Taleb Abdul-Aziz. Rough translation by asmaa al-issa.

In bab el-soosa | باب السوسة, al-issa pursues a method of mapping borrowed memories and stories she has acquired from a land known and claimed, but one she will never inherit.

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Cut + Paste: Inside Out

Until July, 2023
In the Bridge Space

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View and download the Spring/Summer Exhibitions Brochure 2023.

About Esker Foundation:
Esker Foundation, established in 2012 by Jim and Susan Hill, is a privately funded contemporary art gallery located in Calgary, Canada. Through exhibitions, public programs, publishing, and commissioning activities, the Foundation supports artists and audiences through a variety of learning, connecting, and collaborative models. The gallery reflects on current developments in local, regional, and international culture; creates opportunities for public dialogue; and supports the production of groundbreaking new work, ideas, and research.

Gallery hours:
Wednesday to Friday: 11am-6pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12-5pm

Accessibility: the gallery is barrier-free.
Admission and programs are free.

Press contact:
Jill Henderson, Communications & Marketing
Tel: 403 930 2499


Esker Foundation
4th Floor, 1011 9th Ave SE
Calgary, Alberta, Canada