Claire Healy, Sean Cordeiro

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) presents the first major museum survey in Australia of works by eponymous collaborative Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro. Healy and Cordeiro’s work is characterised by the playful reinvention of prefabricated structures and the transformation of everyday objects into extraordinary sculptures and installations.

Art Exhibition previously on at Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) in The Rocks precinct, New South Wales, Australia.
From Thursday 04 October 2012 to Sunday 02 December 2012

Claire Healy, Sean Cordeiro image

Published by M.C.A. on Monday 25 June 2012.
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All their works create memorable and often playful images, but they also broach concerns relevant to people’s daily lives, such as the cost of living, problems of overpriced real-estate, the need for space, consumerism and the desire for things to be better in the future than they are today.

The exhibition showcases 20 of the artists’ most significant works from the past eight years, drawing on both the MCA Collection and private loans, as well as a newly commissioned sculpture on the MCA front lawn entitled Stasis, supported by the Keir Foundation.

Stasis (2012) consists of a light aircraft suspended within a large matrix of metal scaffolding as if elevated by it or captured mid-flight. The work is positioned with the plane pointing towards the MCA building, creating a sense of potential accident or threat.

A key theme in the artists’ work is the concept of ‘home’. Several of the works on display have involved the artists acquiring, dismantling and reassembling large-scale domestic dwellings – an entire suburban house in the Cordial Home Project (2003), a well-loved caravan in Wohnwagen (Flatpack / Past Times) (2006-07), and an old Queensland farm house in Not Under My Roof (2008).

Healy and Cordeiro lead a nomadic lifestyle, travelling and undertaking residencies in numerous countries. Works in the exhibition reflect this and explore notions of transportation, the practicalities of storing and moving material possessions.

In Par Avion (2011), the artists dissect a Cessna 172 aeroplane into 70 small pieces, apply postage stamps directly to the surface of each of these and post them via airmail to the exhibition destination where they are re-arranged into the shape of the original plane.

Lifespan (2009), donated to the MCA by Andrew and Cathy Cameron, is one of the exhibition’s highlights. It is made from a stack of 175,218 used VHS video tapes. A monument to our shared technological past, this massive structure evokes ideas of time, nostalgia and collective memory. As in many of Healy and Cordeiro’s works the number of objects is significant. If each video tape in Lifespan was watched consecutively, it would take approximately 60.1 years, the average human life expectancy in 1976 – the year that the VHS tape was released.

MCA Curator Anna Davis said: “The survey captures Healy and Cordeiro’s spirit of adventure and their uncanny ability to transform the everyday into something extraordinary. I think audiences will marvel at the sheer scale and ambition of their works, while also being reminded of the wreckage and destruction that goes hand in hand with human aspiration.”


Claire Healy was born in Melbourne in 1971. Sean Cordeiro was born in Sydney in 1974. They have worked collaboratively since 2001 and are currently based in Sydney.