Consumerism & Natural Urges: Lego vs Ikea

Posted on September 12, 2014 by Liz

The Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney, Australia recently presented its first exhibition with collaborative artists Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro. Venereal Architecture investigates the spaces humans inhabit and the methods we use to attempt to control our environments and consequently control the natural world.

Venereal Architecture, Photos courtesy of the artists and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Healy and Cordeiro lead a nomadic lifestyle which has become the foundation of their work. They draw upon elements of travel to inform their practice as artists; packing, unpacking, accumulation, storage, freight. Their latest series particularly emphasises these themes, with Lego and Ikea furniture utilised to create the artists’ sculptures. Both brands are recognised as being functional and buildable, assembled by children and adults alike to create their ideal end-product.

‘Downstairs Dining Room – Octopus’, Photos courtesy of the artists and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

The artists explain: “Lego and Ikea furniture are very similar in a sense: they are both objects of aspiration that require assembly. Lego, which we grew up with, represents the dreams and fantasies of a child; Ikea furniture, which has become so ubiquitous, represents the dreams and fantasies of an adult. By meshing these two objects together we can think about the gap between our fantastic dreams and our banal longings. Both products represent destruction and re-construction, which are concerns we revisit continually within our practice.”

‘Bedroom 3, Baby’s Room – Lion’, Photos courtesy of the artists and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

In the exhibition, Lego animals are entwined within the furniture with unexpected and startling results. A snake wriggles through coat hooks while a lion crashes through a baby changing station and a turtle crawls under a table.

‘Hallway / Rear Entrance – Snake’, Photos courtesy of the artists and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Healy and Cordeiro comment: “The works represent our sublimated animal urges expressed through shopping… We believe that the combination of Ikea and sex is palpable. Visiting an Ikea showroom is a serious group-nesting experience: like giant bower birds, we carry around our blue object bag in the vague hope of getting laid if we curate the right combination of objects into our love-nests. The consumer experience must be the result of some natural urge gone slightly wrong”.

Venereal Architecture, Photos courtesy of the artists and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney