Cordeiro, Sean & Healey, Claire
Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney
Private collection, Sydney
'Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going and Why', Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney, 6 May–3 July 2010
This pixilated Lego painting belongs to the series ‘Where we’ve been, where we’re going and why’ (2010-2011) in which the artists recreated images of the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle disaster. Each is titled according to the time elapsed after lift-off at 11.38 am EST on 28 January 1986.
The series of work is named after what was to have been the theme of Christa McAuliffe’s lesson to the schoolchildren of America from the space shuttle Challenger. McAuliffe being the layman NASA had recruited aboard via an open competition intended to make the dream of space travel accessible to all, and no doubt garner public support for the monumentally expensive exercise.
It proved a horrific but strangely compelling spectacle when the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all onboard. Broadcast live around the world, it became an instant collective memory for the millions watching.
Cordeiro and Healy’s work discusses the relationship between progress and catastrophe and the loss of innocence associated with monumental public disaster. Dr. Jacqueline Millner explains what an effective medium the Lego truly is for this subject, forever oscillating between ‘a state of rubble and formal structure.’ (Dr. Jacqueline Millner, 'Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going and Why', exh. cat., Sydney, July 2010
Image courtesy of GBK, Sydney and the artists
Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy have nurtured a collaborative practice for over a decade, after having met at the University of New South Wales' College of Fine Art. Kept on the move by a quick succession of grants and residencies from the Australia Council, theirs has developed from graduation in 1997 (both collaborators graduating with First Class honours) into an exceptional, international practice. In 2004 the artists graduated with a Master of Fine Art (COFA), going on to spend 2006-7 as guest artists at the Universitat der Kunste, Berlin.
As early as 2006 the artists were being shown in 'New Acquisitions' at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. In 2009 the pair showed at the 53rd Venice Biennale and in 2012 the Museum of Contemporary Art held a major survey of the artist's work, accompanied by a catalogue with text by Anna Davis, which travelled to the University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane in 2013.
Other important solo exhibitions include 'Are We There Yet?', Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2011; 'Future Furnishings', Nature Morte Berlin, 2011; 'The Flats', Bicentennial Park Homebush Bay, Sydney, 2008; 'Paper Trail', Level 2 Contemporary Projects, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2007; 'Primary Producers', Performance Space at Carriage Works, Sydney; 2007; 'Flat Pack', Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2006; 'Maintenance', Ballidu, IASKA, Western Australia, 2004; and, 'The Cordial Home Project', Artspace, Sydney, 2003.
Their work is held in many public and private collections in Australia and overseas including, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Newcastle Region Art Gallery, New South Wales; The University of Queensland Art Museum and Australia Council for the Arts. Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro are represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco, CA, USA.