A captivating new Culture Bites Chatswood exhibition Persistence of Vision; The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters blends Lego with myth, legend and fantasy – and it’s free to attend!

Step into a realm where the lines between reality and imagination blur in an entrancing new Chatswood exhibition brought to you by the Willoughby City Council. Persistence of Vision; The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters features the latest works of respected contemporary artist duo, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro. You can explore society’s fascination with fear and the fantastic at this free exhibition, on show at Art Space on The Concourse from August 9th to September 3rd.

Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro. Photograph: Osamu Nakamura

Best known for representing Australia at the Venice Biennale in 2009, Healy and Cordeiro have embarked on a creative journey with their newest work, exploring the mysteries of the paranormal world. The chosen medium for their newest work is none other than repurposed Lego – chosen for its nostalgic and playful overtones – which they have transformed into paranormal mosaics. 

“Just as Lego is well known by all, so too are the phantastic creatures that inhabited movies, TV and pulp books,” says Healy and Cordeiro. “The pixilated nature of Lego lends itself well to describe the photographic, televisual or digital nature of this neo-folklore.”

Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, The Surgeon’s Photo (detail), 2023, repurposed Lego, 194 x 336 x 3.2 cm. Photograph: silversalt

Traditional concepts of monsters, such as the Loch-ness Monster and Bigfoot, were the starting point for Persistence of Vision; The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, which will leave you questioning what has replaced these in the current day. 

“Our body of work combines the diaphanous spectres of the past with the delusions of the near-present. One of the Lego mosaics will be a rendering of frame 352 of the Patterson-Gimlin film; taken on October 20, 1967, claiming to document a Bigfoot aka The Sasquatch walking through a dry creek bed,” says Healy and Cordeiro. “The film was a staple of TV series and books such as Great Mysteries of the World and Usborne’s The World of the Unknown. We have fond memories of perusing these kinds of creepy yet fascinating tales while playing with Lego in the lounge rooms of our youth.”

Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, Stepping on Lego (detail), 2023, repurposed Lego 223 x 266 x 3.2 cm

“The internet seems to be the natural habitat where new phantasms are born and thrive. Science’s victory of the paranormal of old seems to have given birth to a whole new array of questionable chimeras: the Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. As people find comfort in ideas such as Flat Earth Theory or Pizzagate theories, we may be pardoned for looking back to an age when Bigfoot’s existence was still a possibility, with wistful fondness.”

“Bigfoot, Nessie, Mani-pogo, Bukit Timah Monkey Man, come back, we need you. If humans must believe in the phantastic, can we at least keep our monsters endearing?” add Healy and Cordeiro.

Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, I Want to Believe, 2023, repurposed Lego, 153 x 103 x 3.2 cm

Persistence of Vision; The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters forms part of Chatswood Culture Bites 2023 — an innovative program by the Willoughby City Council that celebrates music, theatre, comedy and art. With its central location and amazing performance and exhibitions spaces Chatswood is fast becoming the cultural hub of the North Shore.

Those eager to gain deeper insights into the minds of the artists can attend a free Artist Talk (bookings essential) with Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro on August 19th at Chatswood Library Meeting Room. Joined by Council’s Curator Cassandra Hard Lawrie, the duo will delve into their artistic process, creative influences, and the ideas that brought Persistence of Vision; The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters to life.

Culture Bites will also host a Lego printmaking workshop on Sunday, 27 August, where you can have a turn at creating your very own fun designs. Bookings can be made here. 

Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro are represented by N.Smith Gallery, Sydney.

Culture Bites Chatswood Exhibition: Persistence of Vision; The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
When: 9 August to 3 September
Where: Art Space on The Concourse
Website: https://www.culturebites.net.au/Events/Persistence-of-vision-The-Sleep-of-Reason-Produces-Monsters


Main image: Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, Patty 352, 2023, repurposed Lego, 130.4 x 174.6 x 3.2 cm. Photograph: Andrea Christie-David 


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