September 4 — November 1, 2014
San Francisco — Gallery Wendi Norris is excited to announce Architects of Destruction, a multimedia exhibition by Sydney-based artist duo Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy.
At the beginning of their collaboration, the two artists found themselves amidst the chaos of Sydney’s rapidly evolving cityscape. Their early careers were marked by the city’s influx of money and construction resultant of Australia’s winning bid to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. “It was a really stressful time, there was no retreat from the construction and we watched as all of these beautiful buildings, full of heritage and history, were torn down.” states Healy. Rather than become overwhelmed by the noise of development, the duo found inspiration in destruction for the sake of reinvention and expansion. Ever since, Healy and Cordeiro’s practice has investigated the wrecking and reconstitution of objects. Architects of Destruction provides viewers a window into the artists’ nuanced understanding of human progress’s inherent costs.
The Lego works utilize the iconic children’s toy in a representation of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster of 1986. An analogue of the modern house brick, the tessellated Lego block was conceived as an easily removed, replaced and repositioned building element. As a tool for play, the Lego inspires children to not only construct objects but to also dismantle them for the sake of creating something anew. By rendering the historic calamity of the Challenger in Lego, the artists deftly link child’s play to the “integral accident,” or the understanding that within each act of creation, the possibility of destruction exists. “People taking on powerful positions today were young witnesses to this tragedy. They saw firsthand that the optimistic gesture of space travel and technological advancement brings with it the possibility for disaster.” Cordeiro states.
Juxtaposing the Lego works, a series of small-scale cross-stitchings depict detail views from historic oil-fueled explosions. The time-intensive maquettes explore the incongruous chronology of fossil fuels; it took the universe aeons to produce the very fuel we as a species will exhaust in a matter of generations.
The final component of the exhibit utilizes a medium familiar to today’s tech industry: the whiteboard. Inspired by its fundamental use as a platform for planning, Cordeiro and Healy explore what role this icon of ideation will play in the foreshadowing of future catastrophe. Combining the image of the Tesseract, a four-dimensional Hypercube, with imagery from Albrecht Durer’s The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the artists examine how technological innovations may foreshadow humanity’s demise. As scientists consider their next moves, their visions of a prosperous future may very well overlook the potential disasters awaiting us; without intending to, the whiteboard scrawlers of today could be mapping out a route to tomorrow’s catastrophe.
Taken as a whole, Architects of Destruction analyzes how humanity’s endeavor to evolve may very well accelerate our extinction. Beneath its surface of children’s toys and office work, the exhibition finally asks us: as we work in good faith towards an unknown future, have we considered that perhaps the denouement of the human race is integral to its very creation?