Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro are a duo of Australian contemporary artists known for their large-scale immersive installations, sculptures, and mixed-media artworks that often incorporate found objects and repurposed materials. Working collaboratively since 2001, they have gained international recognition for their thought-provoking pieces that explore themes of consumerism, the human impact on the environment and the philosophies of flight.
Messages in the Sky will continue the artists’ ongoing investigation of air transport and carry on their creation of collaborative works as part of the exhibition, including the production of a new artwork Wanderlust terra Firma, with the help of Mid-Western Regional Council Youth Services. The artwork will be created on Cirrus aircraft wings that were salvaged by the artists from a crash that occurred during the plane’s landing in Ballarat, Victoria in January 2022. Appropriately, the registration of the aircraft was VH-WTF, the acronym from which that artwork takes its name. The piece will comprise découpage made from vintage National Geographic magazines kindly donated by members of the local community.
The exhibition will also include a new video work the artists are currently creating as part of an artist residency at Yui-Port Niigita, Japan to collect footage from the yearly Shirone Giant Kite Festival. Dating back to the mid 1800’s the festival features enormous kites up to 12 metres in length, known as ‘odako’ that are flown during the event. The kites are intricately designed and decorated with colourful patterns, often featuring mythical creatures, historical figures, or traditional Japanese motifs. Teams of kite flyers, consisting of community members and local organisations, gather at the festival to compete in kite battles where the object is to entangle the strings of rival kites and bring them down, showcasing the skill, strength, and teamwork of the participants.
Additional pieces in the exhibition include repurposed decommissioned helicopter parts, such as fuselage components or tail fins, that have been transformed into oversized kite-like objects. Vibrant colours and intricate patterns give these mechanical components an element of whimsy, reminiscent of traditional kites however the weight of the ‘kites’ paradoxically negates their inherent functionality.
We have reversed the evolution of manned flight by taking Australian Air Force surplus plane parts and with a bit of paint and string, turned them back into kites. We have used traditional Japanese kite designs… Japanese kites are not representative of a culturally hermetic system and are therefore a great visual example of transculturation. Our aim is to re-focus on the here and now without suffering from cultural myopia.
Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, exhibition text for You Are Here, 2021
An additional collaborative work Wishes for the Skies will also enable the wider local community the chance to contribute their personal wishes on a giant tetrahedral kite which references Alexander Graham Bell’s early flying inventions.
Healy and Cordeiro have exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, including the USA, Europe, and Asia. They have participated in significant exhibitions including representing Australia at the 53rd Venice Biennale; the 5th Auckland Triennale and the first Setouchi Art Triennale.
Their work has been featured in renowned institutions and galleries, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, and the Singapore Art Museum. They also participated in the local contemporary art festival Cementa in 2017 and 2019
In 2022 they were the winner of the Sir John Sulman Prize with their work Raiko and Shuten-dōji.
Messages in the Sky: Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro
1 September 2023 – 26 November 2023
For more information about Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro visit:
Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro • Contemporary Visual Artists (claireandsean.com)
Special thanks to
The Bathurst Soaring Club
Yui-Port Niigata City Center for Creative Arts and International Youth Exchange
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