Media releases

New artwork inspired by Sydney icons transforms city laneways

Published 21 May 2024

Colourful, tiled artworks inspired by Sydney icons now frame three fire exits in city centre laneways, following the installation of In Through the Out Door by artist Callum Morton.

The intricate tile patterns are the latest addition to the City of Sydney’s City Art collection, lighting up doorways in Market Row and Mullins Street.

The striking motifs are inspired by landmarks familiar to Sydneysiders, including the geometry of the Sydney Opera House’s exterior shells, the floor of the Queen Victoria Building, Sol LeWitt’s mural in the foyer of Australia Square and the beaming rays of the infamous Luna Park entrance.

Internationally renowned artist Callum Morton lives in Melbourne and is best known for his installations and sculptures inspired by architecture and the built environment.

“Each door is specifically designed using a range of patterns I collected as I moved through the city, collapsed and reassembled as a new design,” Morton said.

“Hidden laneways can be spaces to observe the overlooked and unadorned fabric of city life.

“They are the place of fire escapes, service access and rubbish collection, workers taking breaks, out-of-the-way cafes, and those among us who are looking for a temporary sanctuary.

In Through the Out Door reimagines fire exits as grander entrances and creates a dialogue between different patterns in the city recontextualised in these laneways.”

The artwork was selected following a competitive call-out to local and international artists for ideas.

“Colours and patterns are such a clever way to breathe life into laneways, a find for people exploring forgotten pockets of the city centre,” Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO said.

“Nestled between Clarence and York streets, these works probe an unconscious memory of familiar icons across the city.

In Through the Out Door swaps laneway grit for colour and sparkle, making the ordinary extraordinary.”

The new artwork is part of the City of Sydney’s transformation of the city centre including major public domain upgrades and the pedestrianisation of George Street. The public art component is curated by Barbara Flynn.

Callum Morton worked with Monash Art Projects and Gorilla Constructions to create this artwork.

More about artist Callum Morton

Callum Morton is a Professor of Fine Art at Monash Art, Design and Architecture.

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. Callum Morton is represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne.

For media enquiries contact Roxanne Macara. Phone 0438 554 640 or email

For interviews with Clover Moore AO, Lord Mayor of Sydney contact Zoe Delamare. Phone 0477 263 615 or email

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