Effing the Ineffable
Featuring Claire Healy And Sean Cordeiro
21 October - 13 November 2016
“Our attempts to create order and meaning out of the clues that we find around us on a daily basis, sometimes lead us to such grand misconstrued visions.”
In an effort to uncover the enigma of the modern human condition, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro conflated Egyptian Hieroglyphs and the visual language of IKEA. Effing the Ineffable features Egyptian stone reliefs that have been re-etched onto misconstructed IKEA furniture.
We have used the Rosetta stone as the launch pad for our latest body of work Effing the Ineffable, our debut show at Chan Hampe Galleries. As many already know, the Rosetta stone is the Napoleonic era archaeological discovery that unlocked the visual language of the ancient Egyptians to modernity. Unfortunately, no such stone has been found within our age that unlocks the meaning behind the drawings used in IKEA instruction manuals. In an effort to uncover the enigma of the modern human condition, we have conflated Egyptian Hieroglyphs and the visual language of IKEA. Creating a body of work that examines our contemporary life viewed through the wrong end of a telescope.
It is a sobering fact that the written language of a culture: a script that was literally carved into stone, which existed for over three millennia, could become unintelligible to mankind after only a few centuries of disuse. What hope is there that any knowledge from our age: built with Melamine and MDF, may be imparted unto future millennia?
Even subsequent to Jean-François Champollion’s successful translation of the Rosetta stone, Egyptian Hieroglyphs and ancient Egyptian culture in general has proved futile ground for the theories of pseudo-mystics and conspiracy theory nutcases. Armed with a little knowledge and a wifi connection, these individuals have cobbled together alternative Egyptian histories that are the scholarly version IKEA furniture assembled under the influence of too many Swedish meatballs.
How will future generations (if there are any) interpret our era? More to the point, how can we interpret our era? Effing the Ineffable features Egyptian stone reliefs that have been re-etched onto misconstructed IKEA furniture. We have appropriated the fertility relief of the Dendera Temple complex and a house altar piece showing Akhenaton, Nefertiti and three of their daughters: images that have been purported by fringe scientists to represent the use of electricity in ancient Egypt and the extra-terrestrial heritage of the Pharaohs respectively. This kind of fringe vision is only an extreme manifestation of what we all do daily: our attempts to create order and meaning out of the clues that we find around us.
These misreadings: crackpot historical theories, failed flat-pack furniture assembly, illustrate our willingness to find external signs and symbols that reflects our own off-kilter internal worldview. The interpretation of opaque signs: from MRI printouts to astrological star charts, span the gamut of our hopeful and doubtful quests to find meaning within signs.
Some of us have the ability to resurrect dead languages; others attempt to assemble tables with only three legs. Most of us muddle our way through life somewhere in the in-between. Trying to attempt to make sense of symbols in order to understand the past and map out our future.
This body of work has been supported by; ARC Discovery Grant: Taste and Community, the grant is a collaboration between Australian, American and Canadian philosophers and visual artists https://artsense.edu.au/