The idea of ââcutting an airplane into small pieces to be able to send it by plane recalls another pseudo-discipline: that of Alfred Jarry pataphysical – the science of imaginary solutions. The artists have provided an absurd problem and an equally absurd solution. But isn’t that the case with most works of art, however conventional they are? Artists always have pressing problems that no one else recognizes as such.
That’s a lot of work for a visual gag that treats car parts like chunks of meat taken by cavemen to a mighty beast.
On another wall, an even bigger work, We hunt the mammoth (2015) disassemble a Honda into 120 parts and hang them like trophies in mesh bags. That’s a lot of work for a visual gag that treats car parts like chunks of meat taken by cavemen to a mighty beast. There is reason to believe, as Walt Disney showed in Mr. Walker and Mr. Wheeler’s 1950 parable Goofy, that cars bring out the caveman in us.
Had they not been confined to their home port by the closure of Australia’s borders, Healy and Cordeiro would have spent a good chunk of the past two years residing in countries like Japan. Instead, they traveled through their minds, with many pieces made in Blackheath bearing Japanese titles and images.
The duo are made up of accidental sculptors who craft three-dimensional objects and reliefs but are probably more devoted to the image and the idea than to the process. The same could be said for Lindy Lee, whose $ 14.5 million public sculpture for the National Gallery of Australia involves more design than practical involvement. More traditional sculptors believe that the real manufacturing of a part is crucial, whether it requires carving, casting or welding. Healy and Cordeiro allow themselves the conceptual freedom to challenge definitions and to work with found objects, collages, photographs, videos, installations and even Lego.
In this show, a deer, seal, lion, and manta ray are constructed from Lego bricks and combined with rudimentary furniture. They portray a deeply developed relationship with the natural world UNnatural, as exotic animals become decorative household items made from brightly colored pieces of plastic – a substance that is now considered one of nature’s greatest headaches.
In the world explored by Healy and Cordeiro, we make a fetish of nature when our physical involvement is strictly limited. These days we’re all budding environmentalists, wildlife and forest lovers, but we usually prefer these things in virtual form. It is torture for people to turn off their cell phones, even in a movie, let alone visit the bush where there is no reception.
In Block Party (2021), the artists worked with schoolchildren, having them paint landscapes and other images on the backs of disused cell phones. They may imply that we should start looking and stop snapping. How many landscapes captured on mobile will ever be seen again? Or indeed, were they considered in the first place?
Healy and Cordeiro are not going to persuade us to throw away the devices and give up our blind faith in progress. They are just as dependent as everyone else, although they are aware of the looming social situation. If one wanted to identify just one example of technological progress taken as an article of faith, it is difficult to go beyond the government’s “plan” to achieve zero emissions by 2050, which is vitally dependent on technological applications that do not yet exist.
The dromological point of view is that the speed of life increases at a rate which far exceeds our capacity to adapt. Each technological advance is greeted as a miracle, but quickly becomes a psychological necessity. We believe in technology the same way people in the Middle Ages believed in magic or witchcraft, angels and demons, with bizarre conspiracy theories spreading on social media confirming that we’ve never gone beyond medieval mentality. The title of the program, Post-haste, suggests a stop or a break, recently fueled by the pandemic. We don’t seem to come back from that forced break in a more reflective frame of mind.
Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro: Post-haste
Blue Mountains City Art Gallery until January 16.