Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro are internationally renowned for creating thought-provoking installations that often explore the convergence of the domestic and globalised ways we live. By playfully transforming everyday objects into extraordinary sculptures and installations, they broach concerns of transience, mobility, material consumption and the effects of a consumer economy on the human and natural environment.
Healy and Cordeiro’s latest installation, The Ugly Stick Orchestra (2017), is based upon the lagerphone, a rudimentary musical instrument, commonly associated with bush bands and gold rush era Australia. An anachronistic object, The Ugly Stick Orchestra explores the artists’ observations and ideas about our historical and environmental relationship with the land.
Typically, a lagerphone is festooned with crown bottle tops. These bottle tops, invented in 1892, are one of the earliest products designed for a single use and that cannot be recycled. The lagerphone could also be seen as a connection between the native Australian environment (the stick) and imported Western culture (the bottle caps). The combination of the two creates a relatively harmless folksy percussive instrument. The problem arises when the lagerphone stick grows from a branch to a tree. What was once an endearing folk instrument has grown into a monstrous botanic voodoo doll.
By encasing their instrument in flight cases, which typically house instruments for touring bands and orchestras, Healy and Cordeiro’s work symbolically alludes to central themes of relocation and displacement. This in turn relates to the growing pains experienced in the transformation of human endeavours from community actions to global systems.
Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro’s The Ugly Stick Orchestra (2017) was commissioned for the exhibition, Landmarks, curated by Anthony Bond for the Blue Mountains City Art Gallery.
Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro are currently included in the Changjang International Photo and Video Biennale, China. In 2016, they presented Harbouring at Te Whare Hera, Wellington as part of the Te Whare Hera International Residency Program, New Zealand. Healy and Cordeiro’s installation Life Span was part of the Australian representation at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. In 2012 the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia held a major survey show, which later toured to the University of Queensland Art Museum. Other notable solo exhibitions include We Hunt Mammoth at the Yorii-zain Kamiyama, Japan (2015); Are we there Yet? at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C. (2011); PREMS at La bf15, Lyon (2009); The Paper Trail at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2007); flatpack at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2006) and The Cordial Home Project, Artspace, Sydney (2003). Healy and Cordeiro’s work has been included in numerous international group exhibitions in Australia, Belgium, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Their works are held in several important public collections including The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Australia; Art Gallery of South Australia and the University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane.
Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro: The Ugly Stick Orchestra will be their second solo exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.
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